Abundant donations boost Chemainus Harvest House during Christmas season

Food bank’s shelves are still well-stocked after the heavy holiday demands

Incredible contributions by a caring community clearly exceeded expectations for the Harvest House Food Bank.

Food and cash donations helped meet all the necessary requirements in the hectic time leading up to Christmas and the food bank in the basement of the Chemainus United Church is starting the new year with full shelves.

“It was a very good year,” said Sylvia Massey, chair of the Chemainus Harvest House Society Food Bank. “We haven’t had a chance to total everything up yet.”

There were actually fewer direct food donations, but that’s a good thing, as people opted to give cash instead.

“We got a lot more money and cheques,” noted Massey. “It gives us a lot more buying power.

“There’s a lot more money in the bank to buy the things we really need to buy.”

The staff at Coastal Community Credit Union’s Chemainus branch contributed $3,070.85 from its Karma Direct program. Each of the branches in the south Island selected a charity.

Members were given a choice of what charity to support and the Harvest House was picked for Chemainus because it distributes emergency food to people in need throughout the community.

Money was raised from a variety of functions such as the sale of cookies and hot chocolate during Moonlight Madness and community investment funds.

“I’ve really seen a huge difference this year,” said Brenda Carmichael, assistant manager of Coastal’s Chemainus Branch. “I think people were super generous.”

Part of the proceeds also came from the decision to suppress paper statements, amounting to $2,278.

“We saved money, but we gave it back,” noted Carmichael.

Coastal also served as a drop-off spot for donations.

Massey noted another cheque for $3,500 was among the campaign contributions so larger amounts are definitely being seen more often.

Bags of groceries available for purchase at 49th Parallel Grocery were a popular choice for many people to put directly in the donations box.

“Basically, we’re set now,” said Massey. “We have to make whatever we have now last till May.”

The next big fundraising blitz will be the Fill The Bus campaign at 49th Parallel Grocery on May 26.

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