Tag Archives: Food drive

‘We Will Continue To Extend A Hand Towards Our Fellow Man And Make A Difference In Our Corner Of The World.’

THANK YOU Wellanders! $55,000 + tons of food donated to the 2021 Welland Food Drive

By Monique Finley

The Welland Food Drive 2021 has officially come to a close. We couldn’t physically come together as a community to donate, collect and distribute generous food gifts but we did, nevertheless, ‘come together’.

This year was a hybrid model for the Welland Food Drive. Some people donated money ($55,000+) and some people donated food (10,000+ pounds). Generous money donations started coming in to wellandfooddrive.com at the beginning of October. Additionally, hundreds of people drove their own donations and food collected from their family, friends and neighbours to Auberge Richelieu, on Food Drive Day, the first Saturday in November. A small group of volunteers safely took donations from vehicles and packed the Charities’ trucks. The food will be sorted and distributed to the hungry in the weeks and months to come.

$55,000 + goes so very far towards feeding the hungry of Welland. The buying power of our three charities, Open Arms Mission (Marty Misener), Hope Centre (Jon Braithwaite and Marceli Munari) and The Salvation Army (Carrie McComb and Cheryl Moore) allows them to purchase significant amounts of food as is needed. For every dollar you donated the charities can buy $3-4 worth of food and feed the hungry of Welland. You made a difference to so many lives. The Food Drive Committee (Shirley Perron, Alain Breton, Jocelyn Clutterbuck, Carissa Gilmore, Leslie Bellingham, the Wayne/Cathy Martin Family and David Webb) and all those who worked on this virtual food drive are so very grateful.

The three charities will warmly accept any donations. You can still mail cheques payable to one of the Charities involved or you can bring food donations directly to the charities.  They have safe systems in place to receive all donations.
Hope Center 57 King Street Welland, Ontario  L3B 3L2
Open Arms Mission – 22 Fifth Street Welland, Ontario  L3B 4Z3
Salvation Army – 800 Niagara Street Upper Level Seaway Mall Unit JJ, Welland, Ontario  L3C 4Z4

We hope and pray that next year brings back some normalcy to all our lives and coming together as a community that first Saturday in November will be something we at the Welland Food Drive will look forward to. Or even better yet, we can dream of a day when food drives are not a necessity, but until that day comes, we will continue to extend a hand towards our fellow man and make a difference in our corner of the world.

 Thank you and may you be blessed and healthy!

Monique Finley, Co-ordinator

‘If You Are So Blessed, Please Take A Minute To Donate’

By Monique Finley

WELLAND – The food collected during the Welland Food Drive is crucial to the local food banks. Recognizing the ongoing state of the pandemic, the Food Drive committee along with the charities it supports decided to keep the online donation option open again this year, wellandfooddrive.com. Additionally, there will be a one-day ‘pop up’ food drive at Auberge Richelieu, River Road, on November 6, the traditional first-Saturday-of- November date of the Welland food drive.

We have all been through a great deal these past 20+ months; every day brought some level of worry, isolation, loss and uncertainty. In addition to this for some, homelessness and hunger were added to the list. If we are looking for a silver lining during the pandemic, it might be that some have had the opportunity to reflect on what really matters in their lives, a recalibration of priorities.

In these times of worry we have seen some real acts of kindness and generosity. Last year for instance, our small community of Welland raised over $80,000 during the Welland Food Drive. The three charities – Salvation Army, Open Arms Mission, and Hope Centre – used this money to buy food to ensure that those facing food insecurity were able to have access to healthy and nutritious emergency food.

These are the last few days of the 2021 Welland Food Drive. In August the committee was unsure as to what restriction would be in place for early November and a hybrid food drive was decided upon. We hope with our whole hearts that next year we will be able to safely run our traditional food drive; teams of families and friends going door-to-door picking up donations from neighbours and delivering food collected to the Auberge Richelieu volunteers. But caution prevailed for this year. We couldn’t risk being closed down and having no option to fill the shelves of the charities, so we had to prepare for the worst.

If you are so blessed, please take a minute to donate. This year sure hasn’t seen the donations of last. Please donate at wellandfooddrive.com or take the time on Saturday, November 6 to bring your food donation to Auberge Richelieu. A small team of volunteers will be happy to collect your food from your vehicle’s trunk and deliver it to the charities.

(Monique Finley is chair of the Welland Food Drive committee.)

Welland Food Drive Announces ‘Hybrid Campaign’

WELLAND  –  In over 28 years, the Welland Food Drive has provided millions of pounds of groceries for local food banks to distribute to those in need in the Welland community. The Salvation Army, Open Arms Mission, and Hope Centre rely on the generosity of the community to ensure that those facing food insecurity are able to have access to healthy and nutritious emergency food. 

Food Drive chair Monique Finley. She makes a moving, heartfelt plea for support of the annual initiative in a YouTube video, from where this photo was taken.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 version of the Welland Food Drive was moved entirely online, raising just over $80,000 to support the three local food banks. Monique Finley, chair of the Welland Food Drive, said the committee considered different models for 2021, and opted for a hybrid model.

“The Welland Food Drive is crucial to the local food banks. Recognizing the ongoing state of the pandemic, we have decided to keep the online donation option open again this year. Additionally, we will be holding a one-day ‘pop up’ Food Drive at Auberge Richelieu on November 6, the traditional date of the community-wide food drive.”

Marty Misener, executive director of Open Arms Mission, emphasized how important this annual drive is for the local food banks.

 “More people than ever are coming to food banks to get the food they need for their families. The compounding issues of rising food prices at the grocery stores and various hardships brought on by the pandemic have left many families with less in their fridges. The Welland Food Dive is a key annual event so that our shelves can be refilled for the coming winter months and so we can continue to provide food to those who need it.” 

Over the past 12 months, the local food banks (Open Arms Mission, Salvation Army and Hope Centre) have seen over 20,000 visits to their food banks, with over 25 percent of the visits supporting children. Since September 1, 2020 more than 325,000 pounds of food has been distributed by the local food banks to those in Welland facing food insecurity.

While the Welland Food Drive hasn’t set a goal for the amount of funds raised or food donated, Finley emphasized the anticipated growth in need.

 “Many of the federal COVID support benefits, which have helped so many local families weather the pandemic, will be discontinued by the end of October”, said Finley. “Our partner food banks have expressed concern about the rising level of need in Welland, and anticipate further growth of 25-40 percent over the course of the next year. The annual Welland Food Drive is a huge boost to their efforts to feed those in our community in need.”

About the Welland Food Drive:

Financial Donation – Visit http://www.wellandfooddrive.com between October 1 and November 8 to make a financial gift, or drop off your cheque at one of the local agencies. All cheques are to be made out to the local Charity of your choosing

Food Donation – Pop Up Food Drive, Saturday, November 6,  9 am-4 pm., Club Richelieu, 565 River Road or drop off your food donation at one of the local agencies.

20,759 – total number of visits to partner food banks in past 12 months

5151 – total number of children 

326,231 pounds – Amount of food distributed by the 3 partner food banks over the past 12 months

100,000 pounds – Amount of food donated at Welland Food Drive annually.

(Source: Welland Food Drive release)

‘The Big Food Boost’ : CAA Niagara Launches Community-Wide Food Drive

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact food banks and their ability to provide essential food to those in need, CAA Niagara has launched a community-wide food drive, dubbed The Big Food Boost, to support the fight against hunger. This intiaitve calls for Niagara residents to leave non-perishables on their doorstep on Saturday, August 28th for collection by a group of volunteers.

“CAA Niagara has had the pleasure of working with and providing support to many community partners over the years, and we ramped up those efforts throughout the pandemic. We want to help in every way we can,” said Peter Van Hezewyk, President and CEO of CAA Niagara. “This food drive presents the opportunity for not only our club to continue that good work, but for all of us to come together as a community to help the people and families within Niagara who need food and need it fast.”

On average, food banks have seen a 20 percent increase in the need for their services and a 50 percent decline in donations since the beginning of the pandemic. Despite the vaccine’s rapid rollout, many families are still facing food insecurity and food agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand. Recently, local food banks reported that a significant spike in visits to their facilities is also expected once the Canada Recovery Benefit expires in September. In light of these challenging times, The Big Food Boost will set out to collect non-perishables from both CAA Members and non-Members in each community within Niagara with the donations being divided between eight food agencies across the region.

Those who wish to participate by putting a non-perishable donation outside their home can pre-register for pick-up at caaniagara.ca/bigfoodboost. Registration is open through Monday, August 16th. Non-perishables should be placed outside by 9:00 am on August 28th. CAA Niagara will also be accepting walk-in food donations at its five Branches (Thorold, Welland, St. Catharines, Grimsby, and Niagara Falls) between August 23rd–28th during its regular hours of operation. Residents are not required to pre-register to drop off non-perishables at a club Branch.

The Big Food Boost is part of CAA Niagara’s Big Boost, which was initially launched as a one-time extension of the club’s annual Community Boost program in 2020. Big Boost has since been revived for 2021 and will see a total of $100,000 donated to 14 pre-selected local charities, in addition to the food drive.

To learn more about The Big Food Boost and see a list of recommended food items, please visit caaniagara.ca/bigfoodboost.

(Source: CAA Niagara release)

Bulletin! City Makes Adjustments To Winter Lights Tours

Bah, Humbug! But This Is To Be Expected In These Days Of Pandemic Living

WELLAND The City of Welland will be supporting self-guided tours only for the Welland Winter Lights contest on Dec. 7 and 8. In addition, a Fill the Bus Food Drive will be included in conjunction with the event.

Due to rising cases of COVID-19 in Niagara, the previously advertised bus tours portion of the Welland Winter Lights contest are cancelled to ensure public safety and help lessen the spread of COVID-19.

This year, everyone is invited to enjoy the Welland Winter Lights through a self-guided tour on Dec. 7 and 8. City staff and the Welland Downtown Business Improvement Area will be at Market Square both evenings between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to collect items for the food and toy drive and host a Fill the Bus Food Drive campaign with support from Welland Public Transit. Complimentary reindeer antlers and treat bags will be offered while supplies last. A tour map will be made available on the city’s public engagement platform, YourChannel, on Fri. Dec. 4, at 4:30 p.m.

For more information on the Welland Winter Lights contest, tours, and nomination criteria, visit YourChannel.welland.ca

(Source: City of Welland news release)

Food Drive Organizers Express Appreciation

You can still donate:
1. Write cheques payable to one of the charities involved and mail the cheques directly or
2. Bring food donations directly to the charities.

They have safe systems in place to receive all donations.
Hope Centre – 57 King Street Welland, Ontario L3B 3L2
Open Arms Mission – 22 Fifth Street Welland, Ontario L3B 4Z3
Salvation Army – 800 Niagara Street Upper Level Seaway Mall Unit JJ L3C 4Z4

The fundraiser’s organizers also publicly thanked major sponsors: Optimist Club of Welland, Bosch Rexroth, TENPINE Web Development, MT Bellies.

Money-Seeking 2020 Food Drive Did Not Disappoint

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

WELLAND – Welland Food Drive organizers are “very, very pleased” with funds raised in this year’s campaign, writes the coordinator, Monique Finley.

As of Sunday afternoon, the campaign had raised just over $75,000 of a target that was set at $100,000. The campaign was due to end Saturday, Nov. 7, but was kept going an extra week.

Due to pandemic protocols, the organizing committee opted for the online fund-raising drive to replace the annual door-to-door food  collection on behalf of three local charities: Hope Centre, Open Arms Mission and Salvation Army. So successful over the years was the door-to-door initiative Finley has referred to it as “a one-day miracle” in interviews.

Organizers weren’t quite sure what to expect from a campaign that asked for monetary support rather than non-perishable food donations, according to Finley. For them, it was a first-time approach.

“We didn’t know what fund-raising goal we should set so $100,000 was a nice round, yet random, number,” Finley writes. “I had suspected it was a stretch, so to raise $75,000 was something everyone involved marveled at. People were so very generous and some businesses and organizations contributed in a big way.”  

And in a letter of thanks that was being e-mailed Sunday to contributors, Finley writes: “I am overwhelmed at the generosity witnessed over the last month.”

The ever-appreciative coordinator tells contributors: “You have made a difference and I just felt I needed to personally say, thank you.” 

Once again, Wellanders showed their mettle in rallying behind this important cause, according to Finley. They’ve done that year after year, and although the approach was different in 2020 due to the pandemic, their response, and the outcome, was still the same.

If people would still like to contribute to the campaign, there are two options:

  1. Mail cheques payable to a specific organization to one of the charities involved, or
  2. Bring food donations directly to the charities. They have safe systems in place to receive all donations.

Hope Centre – 57 King Street Welland, Ontario  L3B 3L2

Open Arms Mission – 22 Fifth Street Welland, Ontario  L3B 4Z3

Salvation Army – 800 Niagara Street Upper Level Seaway Mall Unit JJ  L3C 4Z4

Finley expects the donation tab on the campaign website to be turned off by Tuesday morning.