Town­ship fire­fight­ers among those who took part in food-and-fund drive Wed­nes­day evening

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - ALI WIL­SON


went above and be­yond the call of duty Wed­nes­day evening at lo­cal gro­cery stores to raise do­na­tions for the re­gion’s Com­mu­nity Food As­sis­tance Net­work.

Across the re­gion, the spring food and fund drive saw fire­fight­ers and po­lice of­fi­cers at gro­cery stores in Kitch­ener, Water­loo, Welles­ley, St. Clements, Elmira and Cam­bridge. They part­nered with the Food Bank of Water­loo Re­gion for the Fire and Po­lice to Food Bank 365 ini­tia­tive that will help re­plen­ish lo­cal food banks.

“It’s just a great op­por­tunely to raise aware­ness about the needs of all of the pro­grams within the Water­loo Re­gion,” said Wendi Camp­bell, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of The Food Bank of Water­loo Re­gion. “This spring we are try­ing to fill some shelves with the most needed food items and have a great com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion about the needs in all parts of our com­mu­nity, whether it is in the town­ships, in the cities, in our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. The need for food as­sis­tance is through­out all of Water­loo Re­gion and to have our Fire to Food Bank and our Po­lice to Food Bank pro­grams help­ing us with the kick­off is just a great way to raise aware­ness and get some ex­tra hands out tonight to help us do some col­lec­tion.”

An ini­tia­tive started by City of Water­loo fire chief Richard Hepditch, Fire and Po­lice to Food Bank 365 helps to raise aware­ness of the year-round strug­gle faced by res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity. The sta­tions also pro­vide a place for peo­ple to drop off food any time.

“Peo­ple often think of food banks and food pro­grams dur­ing hol­i­days, but it is all year round, and the Fire to Food Bank Pro­gram has helped raise that aware­ness be­cause peo­ple can drop off do­na­tions at fire halls and po­lice sta­tions 365 days of the year,” said Camp­bell. “The Fire to Food Bank and the Po­lice to Food Bank 365 pro­grams are only a few years old, they have al­ways been amaz­ing part­ners, but through the lead­er­ship of chief Richard Hepditch from Water­loo Fire Res­cue we have re­ally been work­ing with them to raise aware­ness of the year round strug­gle that is faced by res­i­dents of our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Lo­cally, fire­fight­ers were at Pym’s Vil­lage Mar­ket in Welles­ley, Food Town in St. Clements, and Food Ba­sics, Food­land and Shop­pers Drug Mart in Elmira tak­ing do­na­tions. They’ll be mak­ing use of bins made by Elmira District Sec­ondary School stu­dents Abby Han­ley and Chan­tal McMur­ray, us­ing do­nated sup­plies from JL’s Duke St. Home Building Cen­tre.

Food and mon­e­tary do­na­tions will be de­liv­ered to Wil­mot Fam­ily Re­source Cen­tre, Cam­bridge SelfHelp Food Bank, Woolwich Com­mu­nity Ser­vices and The Food Bank of Water­loo Re­gion.

The united goal is to raise enough for 20,000 meals in two hours for those in need of food sup­port in the Water­loo Re­gion, a feat Camp­bell is con­fi­dent with the sup­port and gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­nity they will be able to reach.

“It’s a pretty big ef­fort. We have cov­ered off so many gro­cery stores and are go­ing to have vol­un­teers help­ing us, so I think we can do it,” said Camp­bell ahead of the event.

One in 20 house­holds in Water­loo Re­gion need food sup­port. Through the Com­mu­nity Food As-

sis­tance Net­work of more than 100 agen­cies and pro­grams, lo­cal food banks pro­vide 215 food ham­pers and 2,000 com­mu­nity meals ev­ery day. The list of most-needed food items in­cludes canned meat and fish, canned fruit, stews and chili, dry beans, rice and pasta sauce, while cash do­na­tions are al­ways wel­come – a do­na­tion of $20 will feed a fam­ily for four days.

“It just takes a small group of peo­ple to get to­gether to start a food drive cam­paign,” she said.

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