It’s a stretch for Jan Aikman to reach the upper shelves in the Chemainus Harvest House food bank, but she makes it work. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Community boosts Harvest House with considerable donations

Chemainus Elementary School students load up contributions from their food drive

The Chemainus Harvest House food bank is a busy place at the best of times, but the lead-up to Christmas always takes it to another level.

Registration for Christmas vouchers and gift selection is currently being conducted at the Crofton Warmland Community Church (1586 Joan Ave.) and Chemainus United Church (9814 Willow St.) locations.

Monday, Nov. 25 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. is the last time for registrations in Crofton and Friday, Nov. 29 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Chemainus United Church.

Selection times will be given during registration.

No late registrations can be accepted.

There are a lot of programs and events ongoing at this time of the year to assist those in need.

The final drop-off time for the ninth annual Toys, Toiletries and Toques campaign for new non-food items that benefit all Cowichan food banks is at the end of the month.

“They’ve been collecting for quite some time,” noted Jan Aikman, acting chair of the Harvest House food bank. “It’s quite something to see.”

The Stuff the Truck event for donations that also boosts all Cowichan food banks runs Dec. 2-6 at Save On Foods in Duncan.

“It goes to the Cowichan Basket Society,” explained Aikman. “From there, we all go and pick up what we need. Cowichan, Shawnigan, Mill Bay, Ladysmith, us – all of us – that whole group is encompassed.”

Donations continue to pour in from the community.

Aikman and Island Savings Credit Union’s Kirsten Waller and family went to Chemainus Elementary School Friday to pick up an amazing amount of food from the students’ food drive.

Aikman figures the final total will be more than 1,000 pounds, once it’s all weighed.

The students were so excited to help out even more and load it all into the vehicles.

Last Thursday, Nov. 21 was an amazing day with a total of 204.6 pounds of food brought in by the caring community. The 49th Parallel Grocery puts bags together for $19.95 apiece that people can purchase. They’re left at the store and John Siebring picks them up on behalf of the food bank.

“It’s really coming in now,” said Aikman.

Donations of more than $20 receive a tax-deductible receipt for the Harvest House’s Christmas program.

Donations can be made on-line at or in person at the back door of the Chemainus United Church Thursdays between 9:30-11:30 a.m. and Fridays from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Cheques can be made payable to the Harvest House Food Bank.

New unwrapped gifts or toys for clients can be taken to the Coastal Community Credit Union on Willow Street until Friday, Dec. 13.

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Volunteer Kelly Vrabel hard at work stocking the shelves at the Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank in the basement of the Chemainus United Church. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Kelly Vrabel carts away food for distribution from the Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank stock. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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