Community rallies behind rural N.B. food bank after dip in donations
While food banks tend to experience a drop in donations after the holidays, the shelves can become bare in the heart of winter.
“Some of the shelves had nothing on them,” says Anne Goodwin, who is the executive assistant of Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Council (PEDVAC).
PEDVAC looks after the food bank in the rural New Brunswick village.
While the holidays can be a challenge for many, food banks included, it’s been a story about the community rising to a challenge.
PEDVAC organized a fundraiser to help get through the desperate times, setting a target of $5,000 in six weeks.
But the community has come together in a big way and raised more than $9,000 in just five weeks.
“It’s just incredible how people came to the cause,” Goodwin says. “It’s heartwarming… The kindness — you feel so proud to be part of that.”
The food bank serves roughly 350 people per month.
“We’ve got families who, they’re not just families on income assistance,” Goodwin says. “We’ve got families where both people — the mom and the dad — are working full-time jobs, and they just can’t make ends meet.”
Goodwin says they handed out 61 Christmas boxes in December, putting full meals on plates for families.
And once they called for help after the holiday season, they received cash donations, food donations and volunteer hours.
“We had donations from as far away as St. Stephen, all the way to Jeddore, Nova Scotia.”
One of those donations — a $1,000 cheque — came from the neighbouring Sackville Food Bank, showing a true sign of those in need helping those in need.
“We’re all trying to do the same thing,” says Heather Patterson, who is the president of that food bank. “We’re trying to make sure our families can eat well, and so we thought it just made sense for us to help.”
“It didn’t cut into our funds that much, but it made a big difference to them,” she says. “We were just really happy to do it.”
The money raised has been divided up for two orders, with the first set to arrive on Tuesday.
“It’s kindness, and giving, and everybody working together… That’s what makes all this work,” says Goodwin. “It’s just incredible.”
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