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With fall food drive, WCS looks to stock the shelves in preparation for holiday season

Woolwich Community Services’ Lisa Martin is coordinating this year’s fall food drive. [Aneta Rebiszewski]

Thanksgiving is just ahead, and if you’re out shopping for items for a family dinner, it’s a prime time to pick up a few extra things for those who perhaps aren’t as fortunate, suggests the coordinator of the local food bank.

“It’s important to feel like you’re supporting a cause, and what a great time to do that with Thanksgiving,” said Woolwich Community Services’ Lisa Martin.

The organization is in the midst of a food drive aimed at ensuring everyone in the community has something to eat during the holiday season. Fall is the go-to time for stocking the larder in preparation for the busy stretch ahead, which sees an additional need beyond the regular, growing demand for assistance.

“It’s helping our people get through every month, to help them with their groceries, to give them a little support where they need it,” said Martin.

It’s important to be a little selfless this year by doing something that not only makes you feel good but that will benefit another community member, she added, noting that the more the township comes together to help out the greater the result will be.

Now that WCS has expanded its eligibility for supports, the agency anticipates more households will need to use the food bank this year. Some items are much more needed than others, with the list headed by canned salmon, chicken, or turkey, canned fruit, cereal, apple juice, and condiments such as ketchup.

Along with food hampers, WCS will also be providing hygiene items. The group is looking for donations of the likes of toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant and laundry soap. Cash donations are also accepted, and will be used to help fill in any gaps.

“We feel that everybody has the privilege and should be able to have toothpaste or shampoo because everyone has the same needs and health concerns,” Martin explained.

In conjunction with its food drive, WCS is bringing back its Stuff a Bus campaign in partnership with Elliot Coach Lines. A bus will be parked outside of the Food Basics store in Elmira on October 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with WCS staff handing out lists of needed items; shoppers will then get a chance to participate by buying an item or two off the list, adding to the tally of donations stacked in the bus.

Donations that come in during the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas drives help keep the shelves stocked at WCS through the winter months.

“It’s a crucial time of the year; through the summer we don’t have anything coming in, so whatever we pick up now runs us right to the spring,” said Martin of the importance of the fall efforts.

The food drive will be supported through the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, which will also be collecting donations for WCS. All donations can be dropped off at the WCS office, Food Basics, or Foodland from now until November 2 for the fall food drive. This doesn’t limit those who want to donate items past the date, as the WCS food bank is open all-year round and they are always taking in any new items. For more information on what can be donated, visit the Woolwich Community Services website.

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