The Kiwanis Club of Elmira gathered more than 20,000 pounds of food for Woolwich Community Services last year and are hoping for the same result this Saturday for their annual Woolwich Christmas Goodwill Food Drive.
More than 200 volunteers will spread out across the township gathering non-perishables for the food bank to use in their annual Christmas hampers.
They’re asking residents who wish to donate to place their donations on their front porch before 9 a.m., says food drive co-chair Fred Karpala.
“The previous year was an all-time record. And last year we were told by Woolwich Community Services that what we were providing them was sufficient,” he said.
If they receive too much they’ll share it with other local food banks.
The Kiwanis Club cut routes in Maryhill and Bloomingdale last year and will do the same this year because, for the time it took to do them, they weren’t very productive. The rest of Woolwich will be covered, though.
“There’s something like 20 plus routes in Elmira and then we have another 17 in surrounding areas like St. Jacobs and Conestogo and Breslau,” he said.
They also collect in West Montrose, Winterbourne, Martin Grove and Heidelberg – both the Woolwich and Wellesley sides.
The air cadets in Breslau take care of all seven routes in Breslau, which Karpala notes is a big help.
“The First Robotics Team from EDSS, they do four routes for us and this is probably their fourth year. They’re a great group. It’s wonderful for them to give up their weekend time to do that,” he said.
Unfortunately, this year some of their usual hockey teams are unable to help because they have hockey tournaments on Saturday. But other groups have stepped up to assist.
“In lieu of them we were fortunate enough to get a number of church youth groups. We got Gale Presbyterian Church, Trinity United Church, also Elmira Pentecostal Assembly and Woodside Bible Fellowship. That was good to get new groups involved,” he said.
The Scouts and Ventures will continue to help as well as Kiwanis members and other individuals who come out year after year to do their part.
This week some of the groups have been distributing flyers door-to-door to remind people about the food drive.
They’ll bring the donated items to Woolwich Community Services on Saturday where they will later be sorted. They are accepting non-perishable food, hygiene products like soap, shampoo and toilet paper, as well as pet food.
He notes last year WCS filled 166 Christmas hampers which included a total of 463 people, of which 232 were adults, 64 were youth over 12 and 167 were children. The donations from this food drive cover 90 per cent of the food WCS puts in their annual Christmas hampers.
The food drive began in 1997 with a Kiwanis Transit bus and just Kiwanis members collecting over the course of two weekends in Elmira. It’s the Elmira Kiwanis Club’s largest community service project every year.
Make sure to check the expiry dates on any food you’re planning to donate because expired food will be thrown out.
The Kiwanis Club is asking people to put their donations outside before 9 a.m. on Nov. 19 because volunteers will be starting their routes at 9 a.m. sharp. If possible, place them in a bag and label it food drive or put the food drive flyer with it so volunteers know it is meant for the food drive.