Maureen Fisher, front, poses for a photo with some of the team at Salmon Arm’s Second Harvest Food Bank. Fisher has been supporting the food bank through the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing gift cards and certificates from local restaurants for donation. (Second Harvest photo)

Maureen Fisher, front, poses for a photo with some of the team at Salmon Arm’s Second Harvest Food Bank. Fisher has been supporting the food bank through the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing gift cards and certificates from local restaurants for donation. (Second Harvest photo)

What’s the good news, 2020? Gift card donations support restaurants, food bank during pandemic

Maureen Fisher has been buying large numbers of gift cards to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank

As 2020 draws to a close, the Salmon Arm Observer is looking back at some of the stories that reflect the positive work, activities and accomplishments that occurred throughout this challenging year.

Salmon Arm residents who might not normally have the means to enjoy a meal from a local restaurant have been able to do so thanks to Maureen Fisher.

A longtime supporter of the Second Harvest Food Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Fisher to look at a way to continue providing that support while also helping local restaurants during the pandemic. The answer was gift cards and certificates.

“Because of COVID-19 and the subsequent economic impact, there’s a lot of people who are unemployed and the food bank has seen a surge in people coming to get a little help,” said Fisher. “And I can’t think of anything worse than not having enough money for food, especially when children are involved.

“I thought because I’m able to help them it’s a good idea that I do so.”

With restaurants having to close early on in the pandemic, and placed under tight restrictions by the B.C. government in order to reopen, Fisher wanted to help them as well, hoping her purchases might help keep staff from being laid off.

“I do it once a week every Wednesday and the restaurants are getting used to me now,” said Fisher.

“It’s made a huge impact on the people who come here…,” said Second Harvest manager Vahlleri Semeniuk, explaining Fisher would receive applause from food bank users when dropping off her donations.

Semeniuk guessed Fisher has donated several thousand dollars in restaurant gift cards to the food bank.“She’s been doing it for months now…she’ll bring 50 and 100 cards at a time worth $20, $25 each.”

In addition to the gift cards and other donations, Semeniuk said Fisher has been providing food for a family of five every week for many years, and also donates grocery store gift cards at Christmas.

Read more: A gift for those in need

Read more: Salmon Arm Rotary Club doubles donations for food bank, women’s shelter

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