Community generosity makes Nelson holiday hampers a success

The Nelson Food Cupboard premises were a flurry of activity on Dec. 22 as volunteers packed and gave out holiday hampers.

Volunteers Nikki Pelletier-Martzke and Jeff Martzke help pack holiday hampers for the Nelson Food Cupboard.

Volunteers Nikki Pelletier-Martzke and Jeff Martzke help pack holiday hampers for the Nelson Food Cupboard.

The Nelson Food Cupboard premises were a flurry of activity on Dec. 22 as volunteers packed and gave out holiday hampers for 500 community members living on low incomes.

“We are so fortunate to be able to make these great healthy food hampers for people in and around Nelson who are struggling to make ends meet,” said food cupboard coordinator Marya Skrypiczajko. “The reason we’re able todo this it because of excellent community support in terms of food and financial donations, as well as volunteer labour.”

The hampers were packed high with all the fixings for a special holiday meal, plus staples to help people throughout the rest of the week, including fresh bread from the Kootenay Bakery and Au Soleil Levant, coffee from Oso Negro, fresh produce from the Kootenay Co-op, dental products from many of Nelson’s dentists, home baking from various school groups, and much more.

“Contributors clearly appreciate the opportunity to be involved,” added Skrypiczajko.

“Kootenay Co-op is proud to partner with the Nelson Food Cupboard, a community leader in both social justice and food security, in providing $1,350 worth of organic produce for the food cupboard’s annual Christmas hampers,” said Jaime Frederick, the co-op’s marketing and outreach manager.

“This donation was also made possible thanks to three different co-op suppliers: Discovery Organics, Pro Organics and Cawston Cold Storage, who donated $850 worth of organic mandarins, apples and yams. It is important to the co-op and its members that we contribute to building a strong community for all of Nelson’s residents, and one of our principle missions is to provide access to abundant, organic food in a socially just manner.”

This is the 12th year in a row the community has come together to support the Nelson Food Cupboard’s holiday hamper program. The program is an extension of the food cupboard’s year-round work providing people impacted by low incomes with healthy food and opportunities to learn food skills in the garden and kitchen.

Now that the holiday hamper program has wrapped up, staff are looking ahead to 2016 and organizing for what is expected to be yet another busy year. Their food bank will continue to be open two days per week, and their customers will be encouraged to take part in their food skills and gardening programs.