Food bank gearing up for big fall drive

Cowichan Valley Basket Society shelves have been emptying but a big food drive is expected to help fill them, manager Colleen Fuller said.

A campaign, organized province-wide by the Church of Latter-Day Saints attracts considerable support here, she said.

“It will be our fourth year of working with the Duncan Latter-Day Saints. And, although they organize it, lots of people like to take part. There are church groups as well as individuals. I’ve got three volunteer teams from here. It’s just lots of fun and it loads us up to well past Christmas. Between that and the other big food drive that’s coming and all the schools it’s pretty amazing,” she said.

The campaign starts Monday, Sept. 15.

Organizers gather teams of four people and each team is given a route map.

“We’re hoping to hit 5,000 houses that way. The teams go out and deliver bags with the information on to the people’s doors — usually about 150 houses apiece. They can do it anytime on Sept. 15, 16 and 17. Those are our drop-off days.”

The big collection takes place on the Saturday.

“That’s Sept. 20; that’s when we go around with the same teams on their same routes and we pick up full bags. It’s a really easy, easy food drive. It’s awesome,” Fuller said.

Areas being covered include Duncan, Cowichan Bay and Maple Bay.

She encourages anyone interested to contact Michelle at 250-748-5334 or Fred at 250-715-1393 to sign up. It takes about three hours to drop off bags and about an hour to pick up.

“We need about 35 teams and now we’re at about halfway with 15. And for those who just want to fill up the bags, there’s a way for them to do that, too,” Fuller said.

Last year — the third time it was held in the Cowichan Valley — the drive was a great success.

“I think we got more than 11,000 pounds of food,” Fuller said.

Meanwhile, as summer’s bounty is almost pouring out of local gardens, the Basket Society is happily taking in any extra fruit and veggies.

“Individual people have been coming in every day. That’s awesome, of course, but our biggest supporter is Cowichan Green Community. If people can’t pick their own fruit, they can phone there and they will send out a group of pickers and they bring it in here. It has been just such a great partnership.” Fuller said.

“Also, it’s the same for gardens. If you’ve got extra garden stuff, just bring it on in. We have been very blessed. A lot of our folks with their limited incomes, this is like Christmas candy for them. They’re just so excited. I have a lineup every morning to see if I have fruit and vegetables. I really encourage it.”