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Port Alberni Toy Run donates pallets of food to Salvation Army

Annual donation leverages more food for high time of need: chairperson

The Salvation Army’s community food bank is a little fuller thanks to a donation from the Port Alberni Toy Run.

Toy Run volunteers joined Major Michael Ramsay and Remi Tom from the Salvation Army at the loading dock for Quality Foods on Jan. 26 to load a pallet full of food into a cube van to be transported to the food bank.

“People are hungry all throughout the year,” Ramsay said. “In January there is quite a bit of need and it’s not generally a time we can go to the community and ask for help because we’ve just spent all of December working with so many wonderful people in our community to feed the need noticeable at Christmastime.”

The Port Alberni Toy Run normally makes a big donation to the food bank around Christmastime, but they moved it to late January this year.

“The Salvation Army said they didn’t have enough space for our order and they would prefer that it happen later in the new year for a bunch of different reasons,” Toy Run chairman David Wiwchar said. “After the big Christmas rush there is a lull in the new year and the need is just as great now.

“Quality Foods gives us a really good deal and we’re able to stretch out our $2,500 even a little further,” he said.

The Salvation Army’s annual December kettle campaign was one of the most successful despite the economic pressures people are feeling this year, Ramsay noted. “This is quite a generous community. We raised $191,000. Our goal was $200,000. It’s the most funds we’ve been able to raise so far, which is absolutely wonderful,” he said. “It was a record year, which just speaks to the generosity in times of need.

“The need has been really significant in this community, as it has been across Canada all this year.”

All the money raised in the kettle campaign stays in the community. This year it was used to provide hundreds of Christmas meals, hampers, gifts for people in need and toys for children. “We feed people three meals a day, seven days a week down at the Bread of Life. As well we provide meal supports for partner agencies. Most people have seen our food truck going around and taking care of people who really have no fixed address, no place to stay. We are still able to check up on them and provide meals and other necessities of life.”

The Toy Run has made a donation to the Salvation Army for the food bank every year for almost four decades.

The Toy Run donates to many different organizations and youth-focused events throughout the year. The Toy Run funded First Night activities on New Year’s Eve, and volunteers were also front and centre at the balloon drop at Glenwood Centre that night.

Earlier in February they donated $3,000 to the ADSS music program to repair instruments for those who can’t afford to buy or rent them.

The Toy Run will celebrate its 40th anniversary with its 2024 event, scheduled for Sept. 14–15. Planning is already underway.

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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