The waiting is over and the food is flooding into the Friends in Need Food Bank, where volunteers are furiously unpacking, sorting and repacking the groceries for distribution into food hampers.
Food bank executive-director Mary Robson said that the recent Firefighters for Families campaign raised $17,847 to buy groceries, while 280 kilograms of food donations were collected, almost double the amount raised the year before.
In Pitt Meadows, firefighters collected $9,700 in cash and another 150 kg of food.
Ridge Meadows RCMP also helped out keeping the food bank shelves full.
Their Cram a Cruiser event, held last week, resulted in $898 in cash contributed to the food bank and another 150 kg of groceries.
On top of that, the wealth of food drives from eight local schools have yet to come through the doors.
“This week is our biggest food drive week,” said food bank executive-director Mary Robson.
For instance, Maple Ridge secondary’s Drive-Through Food Drive has brought in another 1,000 kg.
“It’s become quite an annual event,” said Robson.
This year, about 700 households are registered to receive food hampers, which include some extras for Christmas dinner.
That represents about 1,850 people, Robson said.
The monthly food hampers for December will have some extra Christmas goodies, such as a turkey or ham, stuffing and cranberries to go along with the regular supplies.
This week is one of the busiest for the food bank as volunteers prepare hampers and clients stop in to pick them up. After that, the food bank closes its doors over Christmas and New Year’s, and starts up all over again in 2019.
The first week of December, the food bank received a huge boost, a donation of $14,200 from Epic Homes, for the food bank’s School Meal and Snack Program, which provides food for hungry students.
This year, all of the elementary schools in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District joined the program, meaning that every school in the district now participates.