Holiday spirit is already strong in Port McNeill as local police hold their fourth annual Cram the Cruiser to prevent hunger this holiday season.
Port McNeill mounties invite North Islanders to join the event, which is on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. outside IGA.
“RCMP officers and volunteers will be on location with marked police vehicles inviting the public to Cram the Cruiser with non-perishable food donations,” stated a Nov. 22 news release, “cash donations will also be accepted.”
“All donations will go directly to the Harvest Food Bank which provides food to families throughout the (North Island),” the release continued. Bonnie Barrett, detachment service assistant, said the event is when “the whole detachment comes together.”
“(Cram the Cruiser) raises quite a bit – thousands of pounds of food, couple grand in cash,” she added. Last year, the Harvest Food Bank received 3,230 kilograms of food donations and $1,700 dollars in cash donations from the event. “The tremendous support from the community helped the food bank meet the needs of many North Island families during the holiday season,” the release continued.
Cram the Cruiser was jumpstarted by one Port McNeill mountie’s continuous efforts, who saw this kind of event taking place elsewhere. “It was an RCMP event that happened in other detachments,” Barrett confirmed in a phone interview.
Barrett also mentioned RCMP also involve local schools, which include Sunset Elementary School and Cheslakees Elementary School. The young students compete over who can raise the highest amount of cash or food donations. Barrett noted that whichever class wins will then get a pizza party to celebrate having raised the most.
Community Policing Society is also involved in the event. Volunteers from the society are out in the IGA parking lot alongside Port McNeill RCMP officers during the day of the event. “IGA has graciously donated their parking lot,” Barrett said of RCMP using the parking lot for Cram the Cruiser.
Port McNeill RCMP then challenged “businesses, schools, and other community groups to collect non-perishable food items and cash donations in advance of the Cram the Cruiser event,” the release concluded.
“We invite everyone to show their community spirit again this holiday season and give to those in need through this event.”