The Salvation Army Food Bank in Fernie has raised an astounding 7,500lbs of food during their holiday campaign.
Between the Holiday Food Drive hosted by Fernie first responders, the CP Holiday Train and donations from individuals and businesses, the food bank has also managed to raised between $25,000 and $30,000 in funds according to Major Kirk Green.
He also noted that the Salvation Army is over half way to their fundraising goal of $8,000 for their Christmas kettle campaign.
While these figures are impressive, Green suspects that the food bank may be giving out fewer Christmas food hampers than in the past.
“I think our numbers are probably going to be a little less because I know that Fernie Fresh has had a positive impact,” he explained. Fernie Fresh Food Share is a food recovery program that is helping to keep food out of landfills by minimizing food waste and putting it in the hands of hungry citizens.
Fernie Fresh collects food from local restaurants and grocery stores and then distributes it to anyone in the community who needs access to fresh and healthy foods.
“People struggling with food, if they can come here five days a week and get food items and take some pressure off their food budget, that allows them to maybe be able to supply Christmas by themselves. So it’s had a very positive impact,” Green said.
He added that the food share program has done a great job of “freeing up some dollars” for many people in Fernie. Green told the story of one gentleman who was able to buy a new pair of shoes after his old ones were worn almost through, with money that he saved by taking advantage of the food share program.
“So that’s the benefit and that’s why I think Christmas may be a little less than we’d think,” Green explained.
Green and his wife Linda took over full time operations at the Salvation Army this past year and he said that they’ve found “Fernie to be very friendly and very generous. It’s just a very nice place to be with a nice community. We’ve had nothing but good response. We’re very, very pleased.”