After receiving support from the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign to get back on her feet, a Whitby woman is now paying it forward.
This marks the first year Lori MacNeil will be collecting donations for the campaign.
“It’s unbelievably gratifying,” said MacNeil. “I think it’s about time I gave back because of all the help that they gave me, so here I am helping out.”
MacNeil started using the food bank four years ago, going once a month and every Tuesday for bread and sweets.
She says it helped turn her life around.
“If you need help, that’s why they’re here, is because people need help,” said MacNeil.
“It’s not a handout but a hand up to get people to stand on their own two feet again and to be able to give back to society,” said Major Ken Percy.
Now the 55-year-old is at a Whitby No Frills almost every morning for two hours, doing just that.
Every cent donated to the Whitby Salvation Army Kettle Campaign stays local. This year’s goal is $120,000, and they’re still thousands shy of reaching it, “with only one week left,” Percy noted.
Families will arrive to collect their food and toys over the next couple of days. While the campaign helps over the holidays, it’s also year-round.
“The numbers have risen exponentially this year and right now we’re at 310 families just within the city of Whitby, and if you do the math, the average family of four, that’s a lot of toys, a lot of boxes of food,” said Percy.
As for MacNeil, she rarely accesses services through the Salvation Army now, and when she’s able, she makes a donation.
There are only a few days left in this year’s campaign, but this is one tradition she’s planning to take part in for years to come.