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Festival of Trees harvests a winter haul for the food bank

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to the Waterwheel Park during the 8th-annual Chemainus Little Town Christmas Festivities, Dec. 14. - Andrew Leong
Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to the Waterwheel Park during the 8th-annual Chemainus Little Town Christmas Festivities, Dec. 14.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

This year’s Chemainus Festival of Trees, hosted by the Chemainus Gardens, is being hailed as a huge success.

The festival, which is a nearly-month-long fundraiser for the food bank, generated $3,101 through tree sponsorship, a silent auction and public donations in its third year, and Chemainus Gardens owner Len Wansbrough donated an additional $1,500.

On Dec. 21, festival co-ordinator Margaret Perry presented a cheque for $4,600 to the Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank.

“We thank all those who helped raise the bar on this year’s donations by more than $700,” she said.

Rick O’Doherty, vice-president of Harvest House, says a donation like this makes a huge difference because Harvest House can use this money to buy more food; it often gets a better price because they are a food bank, and they can often get food at wholesale prices.

Harvest House serves roughly 300 people in Chemainus and Crofton each week.

“As you can imagine, January, February and March are the most difficult time for food banks,” said O’Doherty. “We’re like squirrels; we need to benefit from the generosity at Christmas and keep that going. Christmas may come and go, but the food bank is every week.”

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