Tag Archives: hunger

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)

2020 Food Drive ‘Remarkably Successful’, But The Joy Of The Door-To-Door Blitz Of Past Years Is ‘Healing And Heartwarming’

These food drive signs are scattered on streets and street corners across the city. There is no door-to-door campaign this year in Welland but if you are interested in making a money donation, or if you want more info about the campaign, visit wellandfooddrive.com (Photo Joe Barkovich)

Editor’s note: The Welland Food Drive was at $44,626 of its $100,000 goal as of late this afternoon. It continues through Saturday, November 7. If the money campaign reaches or surpasses its goal, I asked Monique Finley, might it replace the door-to-door non-perishable food collection that has brought hundreds of Wellanders together as volunteers for close to 30 years? Here is her reply:

By Monique Finley

Food Drive 2020 is already being viewed as remarkably successful by some who have had more experience than the Food Drive Committee in this sort of philanthropic initiative and it’s not over yet!  Donating money as effortlessly as is the case this year does have some advantages in that tax receipts can be issued which allows the generous participation of businesses and organizations as well for some individuals.

Monique Finley/ File photo

 The collection of money for the charities to buy the food they need, when they need it with the buying power they have is very helpful for the smooth and efficient running of their programs. I believe that this fund-raising component of the Welland Food Drive might be trialed again next year. I am doubtful however, that it would replace the door-to-door campaign that has been part of the fabric of our Welland community for nearly three decades.  

Nearly 500 volunteers rally the first Saturday in November and we do something really wonderful. Feeding the hungry is the purpose of our Welland Food Drive but the community gathering to give, collect and sort food has other outcomes as well. Something else happens along the way; people experience the joy of the gesture and that type of joy is healing and heartwarming.

 I would say it would be unlikely that the Food Drive of 2020 will become the norm. Wellanders can hardly wait to get back on the streets, collecting what others are generously donating to help those who need a helping hand.

(Monique Finley is the long-time coordinator of the annual Welland Food Drive.)

Replacing Door-To-Door Food Collection, Welland Food Drive Committee Seeks To Raise $100,000 In The Community

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.