Food do­na­tions near goal, cash at half

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - RON­ALD ZAJAC

It’s en­cour­ag­ing, but more help is needed.

That was the con­clu­sion Tues­day af­ter­noon as the num­bers came in from the Ro­tary clubs of Brockville’s fall food drive in sup­port of the Brockville and Area Food Bank.

When a sort­ing truck pro­vided by Kriska Trans­porta­tion for the ef­fort was weighed, it was de­ter­mined the food drive col­lected 20,320 lbs of do­nated food.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing fundraiser, meanwhile, has so far brought in $17,000.

Both fall short of the am­bi­tious goal the two Ro­tary clubs set this year of 26,000 lbs of food do­na­tions and $35,000 in cash.

But there is also room for op­ti­mism.

“That’s bet­ter than last year,” said food bank co-chair­woman JoAnne Sytsma, re­fer­ring to the weight in do­nated food.

Sytsma is op­ti­mistic both num­bers will go up in the com­ing weeks.

“There are lots of or­ga­ni­za­tions that choose Oc­to­ber” to sup­port the food bank, she added.

“It’s Thanks­giv­ing and peo­ple are think­ing about it, so it might not come in the week be­fore.”

The Buell Street food bank, which serves peo­ple in Brockville and some of the sur­round­ing area, now serves an av­er­age of 1,360 clients per month. It spends on av­er­age $14,400 a month, in ad­di­tion to do­nated food.

Last year’s food drive col­lected over 16,316 lbs of food and $36,400 in cash do­na­tions.

As vol­un­teers, in­clud­ing Ro­tar­i­ans, Po­lice Chief Scott Fraser and sec­ondary stu­dents from Académie catholique AngeGabriel, un­loaded boxes and plas­tic crates of food, Sytsma was pleased to see many items on the food bank’s list of es­sen­tials, such things as peanut but­ter, ap­ple juice and ce­real.

That means cash do­na­tions can be spent on other items, she added.

Food drive co-chair­woman Cather­ine De­plaedt also saw rea­sons for en­cour­age­ment in Tues­day’s num­bers.

“We’re al­most there on food and we think that the cash do­na­tions will con­tinue to flow,” she said.

The cash por­tion of the food drive is gen­er­ally treated as an Oc­to­ber-long cam­paign, the women ex­plained.

Peo­ple wish­ing to do­nate to the food bank can bring a cheque to the Buell Street site or can do­nate on­line at www.canada­helps.org/ en/char­i­ties/op­er­a­tion-har­vest­shar­ing.

The Brockville and Area Food Bank has no paid staff.

The food bank’s an­nual bud­get to buy food, in ad­di­tion to do­nated items, is $173,000, money that is raised through events like the cur­rent food drive.

Pre-pack­aged bags were avail­able for pur­chase at many re­tail­ers dur­ing the food drive, in­clud­ing the Real Cana­dian Su­per­store, Wal­mart, Home Hard­ware, Gi­ant Tiger and Metro.

Long­time Ro­tary Club of B rockville mem­ber Ian Stephen son has been part of food drives for some two decades.

He was pleased with the food to­tal.

“(It’s) not as good as our best year but it’s bet­ter than last year,” he said.

Food do­na­tions were hurt by the 2016 closure of Brett’s Valu-Mart, which was al­ways a big con­trib­u­tor, said Stephen­son, adding the Su­per­store in par­tic­u­lar has tried to step up and fill the gap.

For Ro­tar­i­ans, the food drive is a big team ef­fort.

“It brings a lot of club mem­bers to work, of all ages,” said Stephen­son. @RipNTearRon on Twit­ter

(RON­ALD ZAJAC/THE RECORDER AND TIMES)

Brockville Po­lice Chief Scott Fraser joins vol­un­teers un­load­ing a truck­load of do­na­tions at the Brockville and Area Food Bank’s Buell Street fa­cil­ity on Tues­day.

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