Giv­ing with grace

Seaway News - - LIFESTYLE - AGAPÈ CEN­TRE

“ In help­ing oth­ers, we shall help our­selves, for what­ever good we give out com­pletes the cir­cle and comes back to us.” Flora Ed­wards

Re­cently we’ve been let­ting the pub­lic know that we have ex­pe­ri­enced a 25 per­cent in­crease in de­mand for our ser­vices over the last six months here at the Agapè Cen­tre. But what does that num­ber trans­late to in terms of ac­tual ex­pe­ri­ence? For us, it means in­creas­ing the num­ber of vol­un­teers we re­quire to de­liver our pro­grams like the Food Bank and Soup Kitchen. It means hold­ing more food drives and fundrais­ers. It means find­ing the time and re­sources to as­sist an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of clients. And it means that quite a num­ber of our for­mer clients have been re­turn­ing, those who haven’t been to the cen­tre for sev­eral months, and, some­times, years. The com­bi­na­tion of re­ces­sion, job loss and in­creas­ing food prices has been too much for th­ese fam­i­lies to bear, without seek­ing our as­sis­tance.

For the first time, we have had to hold food drives in the sum­mer to help us meet the new de­mands be­ing placed on our food bank, cul­mi­nat­ing in the Back-to-School Food Drive which was held at Bax­trom’s Your In­de­pen­dent Gro­cer at the end of Au­gust. So here we are in Septem­ber looking for­ward to our next big food drive, the Thanks­giv­ing Food Drive, to be held once again at Bax­trom’s Your In­de­pen­dent Gro­cer. We de­pend on the Thanks­giv­ing Food Drive to get us through the fall, and carry the Food Bank pro­gram un­til our Christ­mas sea­son be­gins.

A Thanks­giv­ing Food Drive has al­ways been such an ap­pro­pri­ate pair­ing of the things that are im­por­tant to us at cen­tre, feed­ing the hun­gry and shar­ing with the mem­bers of our com­mu­nity. Dur­ing the food drives this sum­mer, our vol­un­teers re­ceived a num­ber of com­ments from peo­ple won­der­ing why we were hold­ing yet an­other ap­peal for food. The an­swer is sim­ple: be­cause the need is there. Our clients are sin­gle fam­i­lies, work­ing fam­i­lies, se­niors with in­ad­e­quate pen­sions, oth­ers liv­ing on fixed in­comes, tran­sients, the home­less and, al­ways, those who are hun­gry.

It is a tremendous task, try­ing to as­sist all those come to the cen­tre. Now, as in the past, the Agapè Cen­tre has been giv­ing its all to an­swer the call of the poor, the hun­gry, those in cri­sis and those in­di­vid­u­als who have fallen be­tween the cracks of what we were promised was an af­flu­ent so­ci­ety.

So, once again, we are ask­ing for your help, to as­sist us in sup­port­ing our lo­cal peo­ple in need. Please come out to our Thanks­giv­ing Food Drive and buy that lit­tle bit of ex­tra gro­ceries to share with those less for­tu­nate, while you shop for your own cel­e­bra­tion with friends and fam­ily.

School snacks for chil­dren, like juice boxes, gra­nola bars, fruit and pud­ding cups and other school lunch items are some of the items we have the great­est need for. We also need brown beans, canned meats, canned pasta for kids, peanut but­ter, canned veg­eta­bles and fruit, juice, boxed kitchen helpers, ce­real and pasta.

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