Hut­te­rian do­na­tions con­tinue to have im­pact at Sal­va­tion Army Food Bank


Ve­hi­cle af­ter ve­hi­cle again pulled up to the Sal­va­tion Army Food Bank this Christ­mas sea­son, de­liv­er­ing a stag­ger­ing amount of gar­den veg­eta­bles and farm raised tur­keys, chick­ens and ham thanks to the gen­eros­ity of the Hut­te­rian Brethren across the South­west.

A spe­cial recog­ni­tion event was hosted this past week to cel­e­brate the par­tic­i­pants sup­port­ing the 16th an­nual Hut­te­rian Brethren/Sal­va­tion Army Food Bank Drive. Dat­ing back to 1997, this an­nual tra­di­tion has grown into one of Swift Cur­rent’s largest char­i­ta­ble dona­tion events thanks to the Hut­te­rian Brethren across the re­gion.

Cap­tain Michael Ram­say from the Swift Cur­rent Sal­va­tion Army high­lighted that the Hut­te­rian com­mu­nity made do­na­tions at over 100 times this past year, con­tribut­ing thou­sands of pounds of tur­keys and chick­ens, plus fresh veg­eta­bles and pro­duce.

“Through­out the year the sup­port is ab­so­lutely amaz­ing be­cause it means we can pro­vide fresh pro­duce for peo­ple who oth­er­wise wouldn’t be able to have fresh pro­duce. With­out the Hut­te­rian com­mu­ni­ties, we just wouldn’t be able to pro­vide it. It is so amaz­ing. It re­ally is a bless­ing at Christ­mas time. It re­ally com­pounds it, be­cause Christ­mas is such a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, and so then to be able to give peo­ple the fresh veg­eta­bles, the Hut­terite tur­keys, ev­ery­thing that they put to­gether, it re­ally makes it so that the fam­i­lies in need don’t need to be miss­ing any­thing in that re­gard at Christ­mas time. They can still have the full Christ­mas meal with all the trim­mings, and it’s such a bless­ing to all the com­mu­ni­ties here and we ap­pre­ci­ate that so much, be­cause we wouldn’t be able to do this oth­er­wise,” Cap­tain Ram­say said.

On Dec. 11, a celebration event was hosted at the Food Bank to rec­og­nize the con­tin­ued sup­port of the Hut­te­rian Brethren, plus the co­or­di­nat­ing ef­forts of orig­i­nal part­ners JayDee AgTech, Pi­o­neer Co-op Agro, Bank of Nova Sco­tia, and Mey­ers Nor­ris Penny.

“This is the 16th an­nual Hut­terite Day that we’ve been able to cel­e­brate the gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­ni­ties sup­port­ing those in need in our com­mu­nity. It’s re­ally quite some­thing to have it still go as strong as it is. To be able to cel­e­brate it still go­ing that strong af­ter 16 years is a real tes­ti­mony to ev­ery­one in­volved,” Cap­tain Ram­say said.

Arthur Ward, Re­gional Sales Man­ager at JayDee AgTech, ad­mit­ted their gath­er­ing at the Food Bank is al­ways a feel good day.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to see the com­mu­nity sup­port the com­mu­nity when it’s needed through the Hut­terite colonies and the part­ner busi­nesses. Ev­ery year it seems to get big­ger, and the need gets larger and with that, the sup­port and do­na­tions seem to grow with it ev­ery year,” Ward said.

No one could have imag­ined the im­pact of the pro­gram over the past num­ber of years, and the need for the Food Bank has con­tin­ued to grow.

“It would be won­der­ful to say that there could be an ebb and a flow if there was years when the need was less, but un­for­tu­nately it’s a grow­ing need in our com­mu­nity. I think as we see the diver­sity of our com­mu­nity as it grows and changes, the needs also grow and change, and that’s why in ad­di­tion to this pro­gram that we’re in­volved with, there’s other pro­grams that the Sal­va­tion Army is very busy with, adding for new­com­ers and things of that na­ture. It’s pretty ex­cit­ing,” Ward added.

The celebration event also fea­tured a se­ries of tes­ti­mo­ni­als from in­di­vid­u­als who shared how the Food Bank and the Sal­va­tion Army has helped give them a boost when it was needed the most. Ward noted this helped re­in­forced the rea­son why the dona­tion drive ex­ists in the first place.

“That was awe­some this year. I don’t re­mem­ber in pre­vi­ous years some­one com­ing to give a tes­ti­mo­nial like that. To see a young man that you could tell his words were very thought­ful and he spoke very elo­quently about the im­pact that the pro­gram and the Sal­va­tion Army makes. It was re­fresh­ing. You know you’re do­ing the right thing, but when the peo­ple that you’re help­ing rec­og­nize that you’re do­ing the right thing and they thank you for it, it makes you feel good. It’s nice to know that there are peo­ple out there whose lives are be­ing proved or changed.

“We’re also in­volved in the hand­out of the ham­pers next week. I think there’s seven or nine of us from JayDee that come out, whether we’re help­ing with ham­pers or hand­ing them out. I ap­pre­ci­ate that. It’s won­der­ful to get to meet the peo­ple, and most of them are so thank­ful. A lot of them have fallen on some pretty hard times, but it’s nice to know that we can sup­port them, be­cause there are lots of us that are very blessed. There are al­ways those that need help and we need to do that.”

An in­spir­ing tes­ti­mo­nial was pre­sented by a Swift Cur­rent new­comer, who af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion ad­mit­ted he was over­whelmed by the sight of the large scale do­na­tions from the Hut­te­rian Brethren.

“What first comes to my mind when I see so many good in­ten­tions to help out, it reminds me of the bless­ing of this land. It reminds me of the beauty, the pu­rity of this land and what He of­fered to us, and how hard peo­ple work for it. For less for­tu­nate peo­ple, I can tell you that they feel con­fi­dent and se­cure hav­ing a great Sal­va­tion Army. It does re­mind me how blessed we are by liv­ing on this land,” he said.

As a res­i­dent of Swift Cur­rent for four years now, he re­calls ac­cess­ing the Food Bank ser­vices within a few days of ar­riv­ing in the city.

Re­flect­ing back on the way he was helped out by the Food Bank and other Sal­va­tion Army ser­vices, he said his pre­sen­ta­tion could not high­light enough how grate­ful he is.

“What I said was not even a quar­ter of what I feel, I can tell you that much. There’s no way to de­scribe the grat­i­tude that I have to­wards Sal­va­tion Army for the things that have been achieved for a com­mu­nity, as well for my fam­ily and I.”

And while it took a while to get bet­ter es­tab­lished in the com­mu­nity, he does not have any re­grets of leav­ing home and get­ting a fresh start here.

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