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After summer, food supplies are running low

WCS is looking for much-needed donations this Thanksgiving to restock the local food bank’s shelves. Here, volunteers John Mathers and Elroy Wideman sort items at the food bank at 5 Memorial Ave. in Elmira. [Faisal Ali / The Observer]

Whether it’s raiding the pantry for the supplies, or aisles at the grocery market, residents across the townships are being asked to also save a little something for the local food banks.

Run annually at Woolwich Community Services (WCS) in coordination with the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, the Thanksgiving food drive is seeking donations of essential supplies for those in need. Besides being in the spirit of the season, the request for donations comes after the summer months, when food banks begin to dwindle in stock.

“The spring food drive hopes to carry us through to this Thanksgiving food drive,” explained executive director Kelly Christie. “We find that people don’t necessarily give as much during the summer months – I think that’s just people are busy or vacationing – but our need doesn’t go down. So usually at this time of year, several of our shelves are empty, and some are light.”

Donation bags were delivered to homes in the township as part of the food drive, with information on how to donate. Anyone can also drop off supplies at the WCS office, 5 Memorial Ave., Elmira, during work hours, as well as at the Elmira Foodland and Food Basics grocery stores.

The collected food items will all go towards stocking the shelves for the WCS’s food hamper program. Rather than pre-package the hampers, people and families will be able to come by the WCS on an appointment basis once a month and pick up their preferred supplies to fill a hamper. Recipients must be low-income and live in WCS’s coverage area in Woolwich Township and the northern part of Wellesley.

“When people come in, they would get a grocery list,” said Christie. “Everyone gets the same grocery list, but it increases with the number of people in their family. And they would shop from the shopping shelf, and this way they can select what their family likes.

“And then they would only take what they need,” she added. “So the single person is getting a shopping list for one person. The family of six is getting a shopping list for six people and they’re shopping from those shelves.”

This season’s donation drive is an important one, notes Christie, as it keeps the food banks resupplied for the next few months until the next big effort during Christmas.

“This Thanksgiving food drive is going to help us to fill our shelves. And then the Christmas goodwill program, families receive food hampers at that time as well,” she said.

Although called a food bank, it’s not just foodstuffs that WCS is requesting. The items most needed include meal helpers, canned fish, ketchup and mayonnaise, shampoo, laundry soap and sugar and salt.

A complete list can be found on the WCS website. Those looking for more information on the Woolwich food bank, and other programs at the WCS, can call at 519-669-5139.

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