Food Bank Donation Tips

Food Bank donation suggestions

A reader shares these tips for those planning to make a food bank donation at the public Menorah Lighting on December 5th. She says:

Friend spent some time at a Food Bank today, and spoke to the people getting food. Here are some things She learned from those in need…

from a reader of the Congregation Emanu-El newsletter
  • Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. This can rarely be used as it needs milk and butter, which is hard to get from regular food banks
  • Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal
  • Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles
  • People can’t eat canned veggies and soup unless you also donate a can-opener or choose cans with pop tops
  • Rice a-Roni also requires oil, which is a luxury
  • Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Christmas gift
  • Tea bags and coffee make them feel like you care
  • Sugar and flour are treats
  • Tuna and crackers make a good lunch
  • Hamburger Helper requires ground beef and food banks rarely offer fresh meat
  • They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but usually not sandwich bread
  • Butter or margarine is nice too
  • Eggs are a real commodity
  • Cake mix and frosting makes it possible to make a child’s birthday cake
  • Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated
  • Feminine hygiene products are a luxury that women deeply appreciate

Public Hanukkah Lighting!

Light of Tzedakah, Righteous Giving, Honouring Reverend Al Tysick

Sunday, December 5, 2021, at 5 pm, Centennial Square—Join Congregation Emanu-El in an evening of joy, music and light, as we honour the tremendous work of Rev Al. He is a shining example of someone who spent decades performing acts of tzedakah, bringing hope, unconditional love and support every day to many of our sisters and brothers in the downtown core. Ḥanukkah is about dedication and Rev Al has taught us what it means to dedicate self to Tikkun Olam, cosmic repair, building a better, more loving community by caring for our city’s most vulnerable folk.

Together, we will light one of British Columbia’s largest Ḥanukkah Menorahs. We’ll dance to the music of the phenomenal Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra, amazing Klezmorim! Munch a sufganiyah (traditional Ḥanukkah donut) and experience light, joy and the holiday spirit!

Financial donations or the donation of non-perishable foods for the Food Bank at St. John the Divine would be most welcome at the event.

Current BCCDC public health guidelines do not place significant restrictions on religious gatherings. However, even as we look forward to celebrating Ḥanukkah together again this winter, we want to ensure the health and safety of our community. 


  • Do not attend if you are unwell.
  • Wear a mask. Although this is an outdoor event, some people will be singing and dancing. Masks help keep us all safer—and warmer! 
  • Be aware of physical distance guidelines, particularly when eating the delicious donuts.
  • While vaccination is not required, in the interest of public safety, we would appreciate if those age 12+ are fully vaccinated. 

Support Food Bank at Menorah Lighting

Our neighbours at the Food Bank at St John the Divine need your support. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and risks have prevented them from putting on their annual fundraising events, resulting in a net loss of $25,000. Since January 2021, the Food Bank has served 1,108 people, 214 of those being families, and 176 unhoused people. 24% of the average 50 people at each opening are coming for help for the first time. Since June 2020, the number of guests has been steadily increasing, with a total of 649 new members. 

The Food Bank at St John the Divine is entirely operated by volunteers, including members of Congregation Emanu-El. Every year at Ḥanukkah, the Food Bank gratefully receives food and cash donations from Congregation Emanu-El. Tax deductible receipts are available for donations $18 or more, which can be made in cash or by cheque at the Menorah Lighting Event, through St. John the Divine at Canada Helps or through Avodah at Congregation Emanu-El. Please mark your donation for Food Bank at St John the Divine.

The food or hygiene items that we are most in need of now are:

  • protein sources – canned meats (chicken, turkey), fish (salmon, tuna), peanut butter, eggs
  • canned fruit
  • cereal (muesli, granola, other)

We Can Support MAZON with Confidence


We have long supported MAZON because they do wonderful work providing food to those in need across Canada, both Jewish and non-Jewish, including in Victoria.  When I heard it said that MAZON has “left Victoria behind,” I contacted Director Izzy Waxman and she quickly reassured me that the rumour was baseless.

MAZON supported three programs in Victoria in 2019: the Mustard Seed Food Bank, the Preschool Nutrition Program at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and the Emergency Food Subsidy Program at Jewish Family Services of Vancouver Island. Continue reading We Can Support MAZON with Confidence

A musical feast with Ken Lavigne Food Bank Fundraiser

Ken LavigneWednesday, November 21, 7:00 pmSt. John the Divine and Pacific Opera present “A Musical Feast with Ken Lavigne” on Wednesday, November 21, 7:00 pm at the Baumann Centre, 925 Balmoral Road, Victoria.  $100/Person (Complementary Appetizers/Cash Bar); Patron Ticket: $150/Person (includes champagne reception with the artists at 6:00 pm) available only from Carol-Ann Zenger in the church of office of St. John the Divine 250-383-7169 ext. 226 or  Proceeds are to benefit the Food Bank at St. John the Divine.

Food Bank Benefit Concert

Soul GospelSaturday, May 12, 7:30 pm, St. John the Divine Church — Victoria Soul Gospel Choir presents a benefit Mother’s Day Concert on Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 pm at St. John the Divine Church, 1611 Quadra Street, Victoria V8W 2L5.  Tickets are $20 (children under 10 free) available at Ivy’s Bookshop, Munro’s Books, St. John the Divine Church office and online at Concert is a benefit for the Food Bank at St. John the Divine.