Agencies Are Facing A Growing Demand On Food Bank Resources, Outlook For The Next 12-18 Months Looks ‘Grim’
WELLAND – The following release was issued by the Welland Food Drive committee Monday:
For over 27 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.
However, as with most things in 2020, this year will look significantly different. The committee faced a difficult decision in deciding the format for the 2020 effort. The Welland Food Drive is crucial to the local food banks. They count on our community donating over 100,000 pounds of food every year. The food banks simply couldn’t afford to cancel the 2020 food drive.
With so much uncertainty on the path the virus will take over the next few months, the committee needed to make a change to ensure the health and safety of the hundreds of volunteers that regularly lend their time to this annual “Foodraiser”. Therefore, for this year only, they have decided to hold the food drive virtually.’ The committee has set a lofty goal of raising $100,000 through this year’s effort, a number that is based on the 100,000 pounds of food regularly collected at the Welland Food Drive.
Agencies are facing a growing demand in their food banks, and, unfortunately, the outlook for the next 12-18 months looks grim. The food banks have the ability to stretch the dollar by buying in bulk, and partnering to order most needed items. For every dollar donated to The Welland Food Drive, the food banks can stretch it into $3 worth of food.
One thing people will notice that is new this year is an opportunity for Welland-based businesses to ‘sponsor’ the Food Drive. Welland businesses truly care about those most vulnerable in our community. This a great opportunity to provide sponsorship funds, money that will be used to purchase more food for those in need.
The committee is currently searching for a local business who would proudly become a Community Champion with a $5,000 gift in support of the food drive. $5,000 represents enough funding for our 3 food banks to purchase enough eggs for three months.
The committee is disappointed that they won’t be able to collect food in person this year, however the need is increasing. This may be the most important food drive in our history:
- 5,177 – number of people in Welland facing food insecurity;
- 193,790 lbs – amount of food distributed by the 3 partner Food Banks since the beginning of Covid 19;
- $100,000 – goal of 2020 Welland Food Drive;
- 100,000 lbs – amount of food donated at Welland Food Drive annually.
To donate online, visit http://www.wellandfooddrive.com
Or mail your donation directly to one of the local food banks.
‘I Really Believe That Wellanders Will Do Their Best’: Finley
By Monique Finley, Welland Food Drive coordinator
We are just under $25,000 (as of Monday night) in donations so far. It is ‘daring’, to say the least, and quite frankly our team knows very little about raising money – raising canned goods we have mastered but money – well, we are new to this! If the number isn’t reached our success or failure is apparent and we will have to own the outcome.
We are continuing the campaign until November 7th, that is when the food drive would have taken place. What I know is this, there will be money raised, this will give people a chance to make a difference and positively contribute to their neighbour’s wellbeing and I really believe that Wellanders will do their best. I feel that people who have ‘some’ realize that there are others – our neighbours, families and friends who are struggling.
We all know people who have always been able to support themselves who are now in a place of worry, uncertainty and edging into despair. Can you imagine – despair and hopelessness – piled on top of hunger? Society has gone through ‘bad’ times and survived; the wars, the fear of 9/11, the loss of homes in the mortgage crisis…. I think we will survive but we won’t emerge unchanged. Now I’m not worried about change, coal must pass through fire to become a diamond, it’s just that if we slip into hopelessness then the climb out of the hole is so very difficult.
I am worried but I can help, we all can do something. This version of the food drive allows us to do ‘something’ good in these bad times.