Abbotsford Food Bank still needs donations

Help coming from Mennonite Central Committee centre's grand opening and the upcoming automall food drive.

The scene at the Abbotsford Food Bank’s warehouse hasn’t substantially improved since director Dave Murray said in late November that the agency was facing its direst shortage in the last 15 years.

“We’ve got in probably four to six pallets,” Murray said this week, adding that it will last just a week.

Upcoming events, including the automall food drive, should provide some relief, he said. And local businesses, including Save-On-Foods and Safeway, have also been providing help, Murray said.

The Mennonite Central Committee has also put out the call to its constituents and church members to help the food bank. It will be collecting food at Saturday’s grand opening of its new Gladys Avenue centre and throughout the month both at the centre and at its clothing store on South Fraser Way.

MCC’s Ron Ratzlaff said they should be able to gather at least a pallet of food.

The food bank currently serves about 3,000 people each month. It operates as the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau at this time of year, providing gifts and food hampers for families in need.

When the News visited the food bank’s Progressive Way warehouse two weeks ago, most shelves were either bare or piled high with empty boxes – nearly 2,000 of them – awaiting food that has not yet arrived.

“I’ve seen it low in the summer, but not ever like this,” said the food bank’s Lynden Pennell.

On Tuesday, Murray said the Food Bank is still desperately in need of food. “It hasn’t filled up much more,” he told The News.

Food items currently needed are: pasta, pasta sauce, vegetables, canned meat, rice, canned fruit, beans, chunky soup, small canned soup, Kraft Dinner and peanut butter. Cash donations are also being accepted for the Christmas Bureau, with this year’s fundraising goal set at $850,000 – the cost of keeping the food bank going year round.