Help for the hun­gry

Grand Falls-Wind­sor launches third an­nual Fill It Up With Food

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Front Page - BY SARAH LADIK Sarah.ladik@ad­ver­tis­

GRAND FALLS-WIND­SOR, NL – March has his­tor­i­cally been a lean month and while many en­joy ac­cess to healthy food they can af­ford, some in our com­mu­nity do not.

“I think peo­ple are in that giv­ing spirit around Christ­mas, but we’ve heard from the food banks that they find this time of year, there’s some ex­tra need,” Mayor Barry Manuel told the Ad­ver­tiser March 9. “Ob­vi­ously the food banks in town are al­ways in need.”

For the third year run­ning, the town of Grand Falls-Wind­sor is tak­ing steps to feed the hun­gry with the Fill It Up With Food chal­lenge, in which peo­ple are asked to drop off non-per­ish­able food items at town hall, which will then be do­nated to the lo­cal com­mu­nity food bank and the Sal­va­tion Army.

The chal­lenge kicked off March 12 and will run un­til the end of the month.

Manuel is en­cour­ag­ing town em­ploy­ees, along with busi­nesses and other or­ga­ni­za­tions, to get in on the giv­ing this year. In par­tic­u­lar, the var­i­ous de­part­ments at town hall have been chal­lenged to bring in spe­cific sought-af­ter items like peanut but­ter, cheese spread, and canned milk and fruit. The win­ning team will get a pizza or chicken party for their depart­ment.

Fill It Up With Food was started by Jack Kelly-Brin­ston as part of a project for his Scout group three years ago. Now he is joined in his ef­forts by his sister Gabrielle Kelly-Brin­ston.

“It took both of us to do it, be­cause two pairs of hands are bet­ter than one,” Jack said. “We’re try­ing to get ev­ery­one to do­nate some­thing.”

Gabrielle said she is proud to be in­volved in the pro­gram and ex­cited to see the re­sults this year.

“The grownups, they have things to do,” she said. “Kids don’t have so many things in their way, so they can do this.”

For Grand Falls-Wind­sor and Bishop’s Falls Com­mu­nity Food Bank chair Michelle Daye, it has been amaz­ing to watch some­thing that started with one child grow into an an­nual tra­di­tion.

“It helps put food on the shelves, but I think the big­gest piece is aware­ness,” she said. “Once it’s on peo­ple’s radar, then they maybe think of it a bit more.”

Typ­i­cally, the Christ­mas sea­son brings out do­na­tions from churches, schools and busi­nesses, but Daye said it can be dif­fi­cult dur­ing the rest of the year when the giv­ing spirit is less ev­i­dent but the need is still great. Last Christ­mas, the food bank dis­trib­uted 650 ham­pers in the area, but the de­mand for monthly ham­pers ranges from 175 to 280.

Manuel said the first year was im­pres­sive, but last year’s haul was as­tound­ing.

“We just had it piled up last year,” he said. “We had the blue bar­rel, but we filled that up pretty quick. We used the chairs, the fur­ni­ture, the floor; it was a great scene.”

This year, Manuel hopes to sur­pass even that. Do­na­tions can be dropped off in the blue bar­rel at town hall.

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