Ki­wa­ni­ans tak­ing it to the street next week­end

Elmira club and a host of vol­un­teers will be go­ing to ev­ery door in Wool­wich in sup­port of Christ­mas food drive, ask­ing res­i­dents to be pre­pared

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

FOR THOSE WITH PLENTY, it’s a good time for giv­ing, as the Elmira Ki­wa­nis Club is prep­ping for its an­nual Christ­mas Good­will food drive.

Take an in­ven­tory of the cup­boards and pantries, be­cause the group will be go­ing from house to house across the town­ship to col­lect do­na­tions on Novem­ber 18.

They will be start­ing 9 a.m., rain or shine, so any­one look­ing to sleep in is ad­vised to set their do­na­tions out in a la­belled bag or box be­fore­hand.

“We drop fly­ers the week be­fore [the food drive] in the hopes that peo­ple will leave their food on the front porch,” said John Ken­dall, who chairs the Ki­wa­nis drive. “Also, they’ll know ... to leave it on the front porch so then they don’t get both­ered in the morn­ing and peo­ple can just pick it up.”

Ev­ery house along their food drive routes should re­ceive a no­tice be­fore- hand, in­clud­ing some of the newer sub­di­vi­sions that have sprung up this year. But the Ki­wa­ni­ans are en­cour­ag­ing any­one that is missed to bring in their do­na­tions to the Wool­wich Com­mu­nity Ser­vices food bank re­gard­less.

With an army of vol­un­teers of some 220 peo­ple, the club will man­age to cover “vir­tu­ally all of Wool­wich,” said Ken­dall.

“It’s amaz­ing. Ev­ery­body pulls to­gether; it’s just a large num­ber of groups that want to help. And some peo­ple are so keen they sign up af­ter they were done last year, and a cou­ple of new groups said they want to be on again next year.”

Amongst the many vol­un­teers are the Air Cadets, the Op­ti­mist Club, the St. Ja­cobs Lions, church groups, book clubs, and even in­di­vid­ual fam­i­lies, some of whom have par­tic­i­pated for the past 10 to 15 years, said Ken­dall.

“The nice thing is it’s a broad spec­trum of groups that are do­ing it.”

One of the key groups, he adds, is the EDSS First Robotics Club.

“They’re cov­er­ing off prob­a­bly four of the big­gest routes. They’re cov­er­ing Hei­del­berg and two of the big routes in Elmira, and they’re re­ally strong sup­port­ers of the food drive, for sure.”

For the robotics club, which has around 50 mem­bers, it’s just one of the ways they like to give back.

“We as a robotics team, we wouldn’t be suc­cess­ful or we wouldn’t even be a team with­out our com­mu­nity sup­port­ing us,” said Ju­lia Bax­ter, one of the group’s mem­bers. “So ev­ery year we like to give back to the com­mu­nity and this is one of the ways we do it.”

The club has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the food drive for at least the past three or four years. The group will not only be pick­ing up the food­stuffs, mem­bers will be help­ing with the oner­ous task of un­load­ing ev­ery­thing that is col­lected over the course the day. Last year, that was about 20,000 lbs to move.

Bax­ter agrees that it sounds like a lot of work, but adds, “I think it’s not a lot com­pared to what they do for the com­mu­nity. Yeah, I think it’s a good cause.”

The Christ­mas Good­will food drive has been a suc­cess in prior years thanks to the sup­port of such com­mu­nity groups, say or­ga­niz­ers. Last year, said Tina Reed, co­or­di­na­tor of com­mu­nity sup­port at the WCS, they were able to cre­ate 166 ham­pers for 493 peo­ple, more than half of whom were chil­dren and youths.

“Ev­ery­thing gets sorted into like soups and ce­re­als, and then we see how much we have and we split it be­tween all the boxes of all the fam­i­lies ... it all goes,” ex­plains Reed.

Reg­is­tra­tion for re­ceiv­ing a ham­per be­gan on Novem­ber 1, and Reed is en­cour­ag­ing in­ter­ested

fam­i­lies to reg­is­ter in the next cou­ple of weeks, if pos­si­ble. She adds, though, that the food bank will con­tinue to ac­cept peo­ple into De­cem­ber.

“Fam­i­lies can call in, we just need proof of res­i­dency and in­come,” she says.

The sooner the bet­ter, how­ever, be­cause be­sides the food ham­pers, the Ki­wa­nis Club also seeks out spon­sors for ev­ery reg­is­tered fam­ily. Be­cause Christ­mas just wouldn’t be the same for many chil­dren with­out the presents, the spon­sors are given a wish list, anony­mously, by the fam­ily to fill.

The Ki­wa­ni­ans are ask­ing peo­ple to make sure their do­na­tions are non­per­ish­able, and to check the ex­pi­ra­tion dates. The last part is key, they say, be­cause there sim­ply isn’t enough man­power to check them­selves.

The food drive is on Novem­ber 18, but there is plenty of work to do both be­fore and af­ter that date. Any­one look­ing to vol­un­teer or for more in­for­ma­tion are en­cour­aged to call Ken­dall at 519-747-1010, ext. 209, or check the Elmira Ki­wa­nis web­site, www. elmi­raki­wanis­


The Ki­wa­nis Club of Elmira is run­ning its an­nual Christ­mas Good­will food drive with the help of more than 200 vol­un­teers. Amongst those help­ing out are the mem­bers of the EDSS First Robotics Club. At the WCS food bank this week, co­or­di­na­tor Tina Reed joined robotics club mem­bers Matt Letke­man, Paul Cento, Ju­lia Bax­ter, Cameron Beau­doin-Hayes, and Ki­wa­nis food drive chair Fred Karpala.

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