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Seniors lend their support to Thanksgiving food drive

Residents at Chartwell Elmira/Chateau Gardens gathered to present their donated food and $871 for the Woolwich Food Bank’s Thanksgiving Drive. Back row: Joan Norris, Vicky Rau, Kelly Christie, Mandy Holmes, and Matthew Bombardier. Front row: Metilda Gingrich and Susannah Martin. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Residents at Chartwell Elmira/Chateau Gardens gathered to present their donated food and $871 for the Woolwich Food Bank’s Thanksgiving Drive. Back row: Joan Norris, Vicky Rau, Kelly Christie, Mandy Holmes, and Matthew Bombardier. Front row: Metilda Gingrich and Susannah Martin.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Residents at Chartwell Elmira/Chateau Gardens gathered to present their donated food and $871 for the Woolwich Food Bank’s Thanksgiving Drive. Back row: Joan Norris, Vicky Rau, Kelly Christie, Mandy Holmes, and Matthew Bombardier. Front row: Metilda Gingrich and Susannah Martin. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
In the spirit of the season, Chartwell Elmira/Chateau Gardens put their creative juices together to gather food and cash donations for the Woolwich Food Bank, through its Stomp Out Hunger campaign.

Kelly Christie, the director of community supports at Woolwich Community services, was on hand on Oct. 9 to accept the food donation and a cheque for $871.

“We have an egg farmer now that donates eggs to us. But we’ll buy milk and margarine and fresh bread and carrots and potatoes, so they’ll have some fresh produce for their meals as well. Thank you so very much because we can’t do it without you. You always do a great drive,” Christie said to the residents.

Chateau Gardens administrator Joan Norris notes they try to do a different theme each year for the food drive to inspire residents to get involved.

“We got more money this year than food. I don’t know if people don’t have the time to go and shop. They just write us a cheque, which is good, too, because then you can go and buy perishable products.”

They don’t do a special Thanksgiving food hamper like they do at Christmas, but they’ll give the roughly 60 families they give food hampers to some extra potatoes and carrots and a fresh chicken that’s donated by a local chicken farmer. They also had squash donated last week, which some families took as part of their hamper.

“It’s now really starting to come in. So the high school just dropped off their food drive, we’re getting this collection today. It was a little light as of Tuesday of this week, but it’s okay. It usually does come together and then we have a church group that comes next week and sorts it all and puts it away. This is our major food drive. The spring food drive is usually not as plentiful, so we really look for this one to fill our shelves after the summer,” Christie said.

The Thanksgiving food drive kicked off in September in conjunction with Hunger Awareness Week. She says their shelves are almost always light. Recently, a local businessman stepped up and made a cash donation so they could buy what they needed.

“And then Travis from Food Basics, I invited him to the food bank and he saw what shelves were empty and he and his staff made a decision to fill those shelves. So those now have some stuff on them, which already have been used a lot. This hopefully will fill those shelves,” Christie said.

They food bank is always in need of juice, canned fruit, and canned meat.

“For us it never ends. We’ll just keep accepting. We weigh the food for the Thanksgiving food drive until we finish our sort, which is on Wednesday,” Christie said.

For every donation of food or financial support the residents got a paper boot to put their name on, which now decorate the walls at Chateau Gardens. They’ve been donating to the Thanksgiving food drive for 20 years.

“They’re always really creative with what they do. I think that really helps get people involved. It’s families, residents, staff, everybody. It’s always been great,” Christie said.

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