Fewer families reached out for food and toy help this Christmas, according to two of Nanaimo’s largest holiday aid programs.
Family registration was down for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and Hamperville this year.
The Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, which distributes hampers in partnership with the Salvation Army, reports an 11-per cent decrease in people served this season, with 4,620 clients compared to 5,199 in 2013. The Greater Nanaimo Toy Drive was able to store away extra toys for next season after seeing 25 per cent fewer families register to get gifts. There were 597 families, down from about 800 in 2014.
Carolyn Iles, toy drive spokeswoman, listed a number of potential reasons for lower numbers, from fewer people in need, to more organizations providing hampers and toys, and a change in where people register for the charities.
Peter Sinclair, executive director for Loaves and Fishes, said more than 4,000 people needing food assistance is “clearly a concern” but a drop in numbers is good.
“I’d like to think that there’s just less need in the community and that’s a good thing,” he said.
The Nanaimo 7-10 Club provided a Christmas breakfast and a last-minute dinner event for those in need of a holiday meal. Gord Fuller, chairman of the 7-10 society, said they believe there was a slight drop in attendees for the breakfast, which attracted about 200 people, but adds that there is still a significant need.