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Share food bank shelves dwindling
Summer may be the season of pool parties, picnics and backyard barbecues but for the Share food bank, it's a time of empty shelves and continued need.
"Summer is normally a bad time in the food bank because our regular donors go away on vacation," said Michelle Ronning, communications co-ordinator for Share Family and Community Services. "People are out having fun, they're not really thinking about food."
The non-profit organization expects food bank shelves to be largely empty by Aug. 15. There is plenty of canned soup, Ronning said, but it's high in sodium and low in nutritional value. What's needed are meal helpers like Hamburger Helper, which can extend one meal into leftovers for a second day, as well as canned meat or fish, peanut butter, granola, pasta sauce, rice and canned fruits and vegetables.
It's hoped that the 12 Days of Christmas in July campaign will bring in those items and more.
The campaign kicked off on July 15 with an email and social media campaign, and continued with an open house yesterday (Tuesday) aimed at showing the public what the food bank looks like, how it works and how great the need is.
Last year, Share distributed just over 19,000 food hampers to Tri-City residents. Those hampers fed nearly 5,500 people, 1,400 of whom were children under 12 years old.
Christmas in July will also feature food drives on July 26 at Superstore at Westwood Mall in Coquitlam and at Coquitlam Centre mall, where there will also be games, a kids' colouring contest, the Share bear, face painting and even a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Anyone who donates $10 or more at either location will also be eligible for prize draws, including tickets to the Honda Celebration of Light at the YVR observation deck.
Ronning said Share aims to raise $25,000 throughout the campaign.
A new addition to Share's fundraising efforts will also kick off on July 29 with Dine 4 Share. Just visit one of the participating restaurants — Boston Pizza (Maillardville), Kefi Greek Restaurant, Micky's Public House, Pasta Polo, Stake at the Hard Rock Casino and Townhall Public House — and tell them you're "Dining out for Share" and the restaurant will donate up to 10% of your bill to Share.
"If you eat out, you're helping someone else to eat at home," Ronning said. Each restaurant is having a launch party on a different night but they've signed on as long-term partners, agreeing to donate a portion of the bill for about a year.
"We're really excited about this one," Ronning added, "and we're still growing the amount of restaurants we'll have."
WANT TO DONATE?
The Share food bank is holding two events on July 26 at which money and/or non-perishable food items are welcome for donation:
• Real Canadian Superstore on Westwood Street in Coquitlam from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Coquitlam Centre at the Shaw WiFi TV lounge from 2 to 6 p.m.
Businesses are also invited to raise food donations throughout the 12 Days of Christmas campaign (running to July 26). Collect donations and then drop them off at the Share head office (25 King Edward St., Coquitlam). Email Michelle Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a pickup.
Dine 4 Share launch events take place on the following dates:
• July 29, Micky's Public House and Townhall Public House;
• July 30, Boston Pizza (Maillardville);
• July 31, Stake (Hard Rock Casino);
• Aug. 1, Kefi Greek Restaurant;
• Aug. 2, Pasta Polo.