Selean Kitchen, left, and Tracy Ethier, who both work in the Salvation Army Thrift Store, have a mini pillow fight in the foyer to practice for the main event on May 4 at Glenwood Centre. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Selean Kitchen, left, and Tracy Ethier, who both work in the Salvation Army Thrift Store, have a mini pillow fight in the foyer to practice for the main event on May 4 at Glenwood Centre. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni’s Salvation Army battling hunger with a pillow fight

New event to wrap up month-long food drive, bring attention to city’s food insecurity

The Port Alberni Salvation Army and Bread of Life will wrap up their Spring Out of Hunger food drive on Saturday, May 4 with an old-fashioned pillow fight.

The Salvation Army traditionally holds a spring food drive, with a “can-struction” event: building things with donated cans of food. While can building will still take place, Capt. Michael Ramsay wanted to inject some active fun into the food drive.

”We were in Toronto for the last number of years,” said Ramsay, who moved his family to Port Alberni last year. Toronto hosts a giant pillow fight every year in Nathan Phillips Square, a public park in downtown Toronto.

”It was always so much fun,” says Ramsay. “We thought we‘d give it a shot here.”

Ramsay hopes people will come down to Glenwood Centre on Saturday morning armed with pillows and ready for battle. “People can either bring their own pillows if they’re clean and taken care of. Otherwise we will have pillowcases and everything there.”

There will also be balloons for young children to play with instead of pillows, a bouncy castle, face painting and entertainment courtesy of Alberni Teens Can Rock.

The event will also be an opportunity for participants to think about food insecurity in Port Alberni, Ramsay said: to “raise awareness of the fight against hunger. There are people here that are hungry.”

That is one reason why the Salvation Army and Bread of Life have teamed up for this event, he added. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the Bread of Life and Salvation Army working together, to have the community come together and help those in need.”

People are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the event, where the Salvation Army is going to try to fill its cube van with food. Cash donations are also welcome, and tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.

Both the Salvation Army, which operates the Community Food Bank, and the Bread of Life feed hundreds of people in Port Alberni each month. Ramsay did not have exact figures available.

Festivities start with a free pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. at Glenwood Centre, then the pillow fight at 10 a.m. Other pillow-themed and “can-struction” activities will continue until 11 a.m. Ramsay hopes people will come down to the community centre and participate.

”We’re excited to see this,” he said.

Glenwood Centre is located at 4480 Vimy St., behind Bob Dailey Stadium.

For more information on the events, please call Capt. Ramsay or Marilyn at 250-723-6913, or Kim or Corena at Bread of Life, 250-723-4049.