Dave Bennett volunteers for the Christmas Bureau.

Need just keeps getting bigger

Charities, such as Christmas Bureau, struggling to keep up with demand

The Sooke Christmas Bureau currently has a fundraising goal of $25,000 to supply food to over 450 families.

According to Dave Bennett, Sooke Christmas Bureau spokesperson, about $11,000 has been raised as of Dec. 14.

The Christmas Bureau raised about $5,000 of the funds, while the remainder was contributed by Sooke firefighters, who have been holding store-front campaigns over the last three weeks.

“The hope is that we can reach our target of $25,000 cash because there’s always outstanding bills and so on from operating the Christmas Bureau this time of year, and it helps to sustain the operation of the food bank in the new year as well,” Bennett said.

He said the “bare bones” operation uses the money to purchase food hamper items like cereals, soups, stuffing boxes, tea and coffee at wholesale prices.

“Although we’re very well supported by the food suppliers in terms of getting a wholesale price, the reality is when that’s delivered to the Christmas Bureau to the food bank, they want cash in hand, so that’s what we have to be able to pay — those bills,” Bennett said.

But even if the Christmas Bureau fails to meet their fundraising goal, Bennett said all food hamper applicants will still be serviced.

“We may run out of turkeys, we may run out of hams, but yes, nobody will be turned away, everybody will go home with some food,” he said.

Last year, the Christmas Bureau raised $24,000 in cash donations, received a large amount of donated non-perishable food items, and had over 500 food hamper applicants.

The number of applicants for this year are still being tabulated, but so far there are about 450 registered, which Bennett expects to increase. But he added, volunteers have also been more careful when selecting food hamper recipients.

“We’re being more careful in terms of screening the applicants and ensuring that they are getting a hamper from us then they’re not sort of trying to utilize another region, another area hamper supply. So, we’re trying to be as careful as we can because it’s an expensive process and at the same time we want to make sure that everybody that is in need is provided with a hamper.”

According to Bennett, the greatest challenge facing the Christmas Bureau is similar to the challenges encountered by local families — the rising cost of food.

“Our biggest challenge is probably ensuring that we continue to receive the tremendous support of the greater community in order to have the necessary funds to provide us with the purchasing power to support the needs of the Christmas Bureau,” he said.

That being said, Bennett added the community has been very generous in their support.

“Good things continue to happen and that’s what we need to count on,” he said.

Just as a reminder, the Sooke Christmas Bureau cannot accept expired food items, items that are unsealed or opened and home-made preserves.

The Christmas Bureau is also looking for volunteers who may be willing to take on-call shifts from Dec. 20-22. Contact 250-642-1534 if interested.

Just Posted

Announcement for Sooke Road improvement expected this week

Premier promising ‘preliminary’ work, with more on the way

Dozens rally outside Premiere’s office for sick Sooke boy

Six-year-old Landen Lanthier needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Sooke’s Most Wanted

The following individuals are wanted by the Sooke RCMP as of Jan.… Continue reading

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Community rallies behind Sooke boy with rare condition

Dozens called on government to cover cost of drug for six-year-old Landen Alexa

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

LETTERS: Sooke roads not racetracks

What can we as a community do about the blatant law breakers… Continue reading

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read