If the snowfall we’ve seen in the past week isn’t enough, the large group of volunteers taking part in this weekend’s food drive should remind you that the Christmas season is here – and that it’s the season of giving.
On Saturday, the Kiwanis Club of Elmira, along with a significant number of service clubs and volunteers across the townships, will be asking residents to lend support to the annual Christmas Goodwill food drive.
Run each year to support the Woolwich Community Services food bank over the winter season, the drive brings tens of thousands of pounds of food and supplies from across the Woolwich and northern half of Wellesley townships for those in need. This year’s drive is set for Saturday (November 17), and the Kiwanis Club is asking people to support the cause.
“They don’t have to come out,” points out Jim Stewart, Kiwanis member and past president. “Everybody, if they could just give a little bit of non-perishable food to the food drive. … We canvas such a large area and a number of homes that a little bit from a lot of people turns out to be a tremendous amount of food for a lot of families.
“That’s the key to it,” he added. “It’s door-to-door, and that I’ve always felt was the most effective way, if you can, to run a food drive.”
Flyers were dropped off at eligible homes ahead of time, and this Saturday, volunteers will be going door-to-door to pick up donations from across the two townships. Residents are being asked to leave non-perishable donations in bags, affixed with the flyer or marked “Food Drive”, on their porches ahead of the 9 a.m. collection start.
This year, the Kiwanis Club hopes to collect 20,000 lbs of food and donations, in line with last year’s haul. Though run under the Kiwanis banner, the effort will see the participation of 200 volunteers, and involve the support of groups like the EDSS First Robotics Team, the St. Jacobs Lions and the Breslau Air Cadets.
It’s a huge difference from where the food drive was 17 years ago, which started off as a smaller effort within just the town of Elmira.
“It’s gone right through the whole township,” said Stewart, of the food drive.
Food and supplies collected will go towards the WCS Christmas Goodwill hamper program, which provides holiday essentials to low-income residents in the community.
“We also ask, if possible, that when they’re grabbing stuff from their cupboards, due to the large scope of how much food we get and our tight timeline of pulling together all these hampers, checking the expiry dates on items would greatly appreciated,” said Tina Reed, coordinator of community supports at the WCS.
“Because we can’t do that at all beforehand. So that saves people having to open their Christmas hampers and have to throw out things.”
“Please check those doggone little dates – you know how small they are,” added Stewart.
The food drive will begin Saturday at 9 a.m., and run over the course of the day.