For the 11th year in a row, the Nelson Food Cupboard is preparing holiday hampers for 500 people in need of a little extra help to make the holiday season healthy and cheerful.
“With the cost of food so high and the holiday season such an expensive time for families trying to buy gifts and warm clothes for their children, helping them out with food hampers is essential,” said Holiday Hamper coordinator Marya Skrypiczajko.
The Nelson Food Cupboard’s mission is to provide access to healthy food for people who cannot afford to purchase enough food for themselves and their families, and to do it in a dignified way.
“We don’t ask people why they are in a position to need to use our food cupboard or pick up a hamper at Christmastime; we trust they can make that decision for themselves,” said Skrypiczajko.
Everyone the Nelson Food Cupboard serves lives in poverty but their circumstances vary widely. Some are on seniors’ pensions or long-term disability pensions for physical or mental health reasons. Some work but cannot make ends meet. Some are single parents with small children. The list goes on.
“Our recent customer survey indicated that 75 per cent of our customers have lived in Nelson five years or more, and 60 per cent for 10 years or more. This clearly dispels the myth that food banks are serving transients,” said Kim Charlesworth, Nelson Food Cupboard coordinator.
The Holiday Hamper program is an extension of the Nelson Food Cupboard’s year round work – providing people in need with healthy food, some of it purchased from local farmers.
“Providing fresh, healthy, locally sourced food is a key component of our work,” said Charlesworth, “We know all about the connection between a healthy diet and good physical and mental health so we strive to serve our clientele the best food possible.”
The community can help in many ways at this time of the year – financial donations go toward the hampers and grocery purchases for the upcoming months, food donations stock the shelves for January, and people interested in putting a hamper together themselves can be matched with an anonymous family.
If you would like to contribute, please send donations to the Nelson Food Cupboard at 602 Silica Street, Nelson, V1L 4N1 or donate online through their website, foodcupboard.org. Charity receipts will be issued.