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.
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)