The Nelson Community Food Centre has seen an increase in need this year, and an increase in donations. To kick-off the holiday season, and make sure everyone can celebrate with good food, Festive Food Days in Nelson is underway — and on for longer than usual.

Three years ago, the centre switched over from handing out hampers at the beginning of December. The centre’s Andrew Creighton said the hampers were only handed out once a year, and didn’t always serve their regular program participants.

Part of the decision to extend Festive Food Days by a week was because of when the Wednesdays lined up with the holidays. If the centre did their usual three weeks, the food bank would close before the 23rd for the holidays, and people relying on the program would go too long without food.

Their on-going programs include a harvest rescue program in the summer and fall, a garden and cooking classes — some of which have gone virtual.

The scheduled pick-ups for Festive Food Days are Wednesdays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m They aim to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The centre only needs your first name — no last name or means checking. The centre also has a text system that send a reminder to participants the day before to confirm their scheduled grocery pick-up.