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West Island food bank holds drive to fill empty shelves, prepare for holiday season

Click to play video: 'Montreal food bank holds drive to fill empty shelves, prepare for holiday season'
Montreal food bank holds drive to fill empty shelves, prepare for holiday season
The West Island Mission held its first 'Porch to Pantry' food drive in Pointe-Claire on Sunday to stock up on supplies as donations dwindle and demand reaches an all-time high. As Felicia Parrillo reports, the mission serves about 300 families a month and another 1,000 people turn to the food bank to shop for groceries every two weeks. – Nov 12, 2023

One home at a time, dozens of volunteers and staff from the West Island Mission went door to door in Pointe-Claire on Sunday morning.

They were collecting food from people’s porches to bring back to the food bank’s pantry.

Usually, the West Island Mission has about three months worth of food at any given time. It’s now operating week to week due to a slowdown in donations and a rise in demand.

“It’s disheartening and it’s surreal,” said Suzanne Scarrow, the mission’s executive director. “What’s going on in the grocery store with inflation, it comes all the way down to community, comes right down to the food banks.”

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The mission serves about 300 families a month; another 1,000 or so people come the food bank to shop for groceries every two weeks. About a quarter of them are from Pointe-Claire.

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“Sadly, a lot of the people taking this food are seniors, living in their homes, independently in their homes,” Pointe-Claire mayor Tim Thomas said. “This is crucial. So I’m really glad this is going on. We have to realize how serious it is.”

Pointe-Claire resident Paul Michalovic said he heard about the mission’s urgent call for donations and decided to drop off what he could.

“It’s our neighbours, we need to help out. I figured you know, let’s get it done,” he said.

That help goes a long way, especially as the mission prepares for the holidays.

“When the government is making announcements like one in four are going to be experiencing food insecurity, that comes down to us,” Scarrow said. “Which means it comes down to the community — we’re the only avenue.”

Sunday’s food drive is just one of several campaigns the mission has planed ahead of the holiday season.

On Nov. 25-26, they’ll be at Fairview Mall in Pointe-Claire for their first ever Toy-A-Thon. They’ll also be hosting another city-wide food drive in Kirkland on Dec. 3.

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