Residents of Creekside Villa presented donations to Aldergrove Food Bank volunteers. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Residents of Creekside Villa presented donations to Aldergrove Food Bank volunteers. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Need and donations to Aldergrove Food Bank rise

One in four food banks in Canada has seen a 50-per-cent rise in demand

Individuals and organizations are stepping up to make this year’s Christmas merry for everyone in the community. In the true spirit of the holiday season, Aldergrove and Langley’s residents raised thousands of dollars for the local food bank.

Staff at Aldergrove Food Bank, which has seen an increase in demand during the festive season, was overjoyed to receive overwhelming support from the community, said manager Mary van Zuuk.

The need has risen but so too have the number of donations, explained van Zuuk, noting the food bank received an outpouring of support from the community during the past few months.

Van Zuuk said the food bank can take more clients based on increased donations. Her confidence is backed by several generous community members and local business owners who have donated to help those in need.

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“Without the generosity of our community, we would not be able to do what we do,” said van Zuuk, who has been volunteering as the manager for two years.

During the past few months, Aldergrove Food Bank, which operates through the Langley Food Bank, has received both non-perishable food and monetary gifts from various sources.

In October, for instance, residents of Pioneer Park in south Aldergrove held a food drive that resulted in the donation of three trucks full of food and nearly $4,000 in cash.

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Aldergrove Elks’ Jasmine Burnet presented the food bank managers with $1,000 worth of gift cards to Save-On-Foods and Freshco at the end of November.

Veronica’s Perogies additionally donated $1,000 from the sale of hand-crocheted perogies sold locally and worldwide.

People from all walks of life have contributed in their unique ways, van Zuuk added.

The food bank has seen students, business owners, retirees, and other community members volunteering their time and money to keep the food bank running.

A seniors complex in Aldergrove organized a silent auction this yearand auctioned off 12 baskets to raise funds. Their food drive and auction resulted in a carload of non-perishable food and $710 in cash donations.

“I know the need is out there, and that is why we have been doing this [raising funds for Aldergrove’s food bank] for last 20 years,” said Jeannette Nelson, a resident of the Creekside Villa.

Villa Electric and Langley’s Stonehaus Realty Corp. gave $5,000 and $3,000 – respectively – to the Aldergrove Food Bank’s Christmas toy drive. The money raised was used to buy toys for the children of Langley and Aldergrove food bank clients.

Aldergrove United Church and Aldergrove Credit Union donated $2,000 each to the food bank.

“I am supremely grateful for the outpouring of heartfelt love towards those in our community having a difficult time.” van Zuuk added.

Food banks are an important and [sometimes] the only source of nutritious food for many families struggling financially. Canada’s HungerCount 2021 (https://hungercount.foodbankscanada.ca/) report reveals visits to food banks have increased by 20 per cent nationwide since the start of COVID-19, with one-in-four facilities seeing a 50 per cent rise in demand.

About two dozen volunteers work at the Aldergrove Food Bank.

While all kinds of donations are essential for the food bank, van Zuuk said financial contributions go the furthest as that enables the management to buy the stuff people don’t usually donate.

The current needs of Aldergrove Food Bank include personal hygiene products, larger size diapers, household cleaning supplies, and pet food.

The food bank is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

For more information, people can reach out to Aldergrove Food Bank managers at 604-533-0671 or email: info@langleyfoodbank.com.


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