Township firefighters among those who took part in food-and-fund drive Wednesday evening
WELLESLEY AND WOOLWICH FIREFIGHTERS
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.