Food Bank gives out hundreds of Christmas Hampers

By Tanya Cronin
December 15, 2015 - 2:45pm Updated: December 15, 2015 - 5:53pm

KAMLOOPS — Everyday, Gord Shantz is faced with the fear, he won't have enough money to get through the month. Living on a disability cheque, Gord struggles to pay the bills, and has been forced to turn to the food bank. 

"I get about 200 bucks roughly to pay hydro and gas and all that, and after i pay rent, buying food doesn't go that far, especially with prices nowadays," says Shantz.

After losing his job and his house six years ago, Gord has been coming to the Kamloops Food Bank twice a week. But today, on top of his regular monthly food hamper, Gord and hundreds of others received a little something extra.

"This is going to carry me through Christmas, right through to the end, this is really good," says Shantz. 

From chickens, hams, potatoes and onions, to stuffing and treats, the Kamloops Food Bank was busy handing out over 300 Christmas Hampers, providing clients with everything they need to make the perfect holiday dinner. 

"Although we have a large lineup today, there's also a very caring compassionate energy here, so we're very grateful the community comes out to support us in this way," says Kamloops Food Bank Executive Director, Bernadette Siracky. 

Last year, over 6500 individuals accessed the food bank. With the price of groceries continuing to rise, more and more people are feeling the pinch and relying on the organization for a bit of a hand up. 

Today, the numbers were put into perspective for several service groups and local businesses, who volunteered their time preparing and handing out hampers. Staff from B-100 and CIFM were among those busy filling bags, sorting boxes and on the front lines.    

"It is shocking, you hear the stats all the time, people are using the food bank, people are right on that line where they're struggling. But until you're here and see it in person, I don't think it becomes real, so it's very real for all of us today," says B-100 and CIFM Program Director, Cheryl Blackwell.

Tomorrow, another 300 families will line-up again, to get the help they need for a brighter Christmas.  

"Often those households are a minimum of 4 people. There will be a lot of folks coming through here tomorrow, a lot of strollers, a lot of toddlers, it really makes you step back and be grateful for what you have," says Siracky.

For Gord Shantz it's a matter of survival. He is grateful for the Kamloops Food Bank and says without it, he doesn't know where he would be. 

"It helps everybody out, and if it wasn't there, a lot of people might die through the winter. It's very important to have this food bank, thank God we have this food bank actually," says Shantz.

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