It's the time of year when many of us are preparing for the holidays and buying Christmas presents for family and friends. For the Ottawa food bank, it's one of the most important times of the season for donations.

OC Transpo is holding its annual Christmas Food Drive in partnership with Loblaw's locations throughout the city.

The annual, one-day event collects food donations for the Ottawa Food Bank.

“It's a really important time for everyone to be able to have that little bit of extra spirit I think, so we can look after those who maybe aren't able to have as merry a Christmas as some of us,” said OC Transpo’s David Pepper.

Hundreds of volunteers help to pack OC Transpo buses full of non-perishable food items.

""Shoppers and neighbouring communities are always inspired to watch bus after bus filled to the brim with food donations," said Peter Tilley, Executive Director of the Ottawa Food Bank. "The impact of this food drive is truly enormous, as it helps us fight hunger well into the winter months."

“I just enjoy it, it's helping out the less fortunate,” said volunteer Ali Neal. “To me, it's giving back to people, and I love that.”
Neal has been volunteering for the annual food drive since it started in 1984.

The buses are parked at 19 grocery stores throughout the capital.
Last year, the food drive collected 167,000 pounds of food, helping the Ottawa Food Bank to provide for thousands of people over the holidays and following months.

Go to the Ottawa Food Bank’s website for information on how you can donate.

With files from CTV's Claudia Cautillo