Dave Bennett volunteers for the Christmas Bureau.

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

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Sooke RCMP are asking for the public’s help in finding Jeremy Tinnion after he was last seen in leaving a Sooke shelter on May 13. (Photo courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
MISSING: Jeremy Tinnion last seen in Sooke on May 13

The 31-year-old was last seen by staff members as he was leaving an Otter Point Road shelter

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read