Volunteer Janet Roberts sets out handknit mittens for Wolfville and Area Food Bank recipients to pick up with their Christmas boxes. - Wendy Elliott, www.Kingscountynews.ca
The Wolfville and Area Food Bank prepared 165 Christmas boxes this year.
This is the second year that Feed Nova Scotia (FNS) assisted with the costliest component of the Wolfville agency’s job.
“We were very pleased both last year at this time and this year to be supplied with 80 turkeys,” said chairwoman Diana Shelley.
“These turkeys were generously donated to FNS to help them and their member food banks. Turkeys make up the biggest cost of Christmas hampers, so this kind of gift is very helpful.”
Shelley noted that some of the remaining turkeys the food bank needed “were delivered to us by kind supporters, the balance were purchased and largely paid for by financial donations from community members. Any shortfall would, of course, be picked up by the Wolfville and Area Interchurch Council (WAICC).”
Shelley added that the “tremendous generosity and support from the community” went a long way towards helping people at Christmas.
“For example, in the last few days we have received money from a collection taken up from the Fezziwig cast and crew, proceeds from the Wolfville Farmers’ Market’s “Get Un-Scrooged” event and many donations in lieu of gifts to family and friends.”
A book club and a bridge group collected money, she added. Cash and food donations came in from Wolfville School, Acadia students and the Horton High School’s Holiday Hoorah, along with support from the WAICC member churches and from some local churches, who are not WAICC members. Support also arrived from many businesses in Wolfville and the surrounding area and from many other initiatives, Shelley said.
“People do tend to rally round at Christmas time, but the support we receive from this community is by no means limited to this time of year.”
Sometimes, Shelley said, “just talking about the food bank in casual conversation will immediately result in the question, ‘what can I do to help?’”
The food bank appreciates all of the help it gets from the community, she added.
“This support is very heartening for those of us involved in the food bank, the Christmas hamper program and in the other activities we have undertaken in an effort to relieve the effects of poverty in our community.”
It is the community support, Shelley said, “including our tremendous volunteers, which makes the whole venture possible and for this support we are immensely grateful.”
In 2013, the food bank provided food to an average of 131 client families each month. That figure, she pointed out, is three times higher than in 2007, the first year of operation.
“We made up a total of 1,575 food orders, compared with 1,541 orders in 2012,” Shelley said of the food bank’s efforts in 2013.
“We are both pleased and relieved to see that while our numbers continue to rise, the increase is not as steep as in previous years.”
Families can come to the food bank once a month. She said it is important to note that a significant number of families do not use the food bank every month of the year and come only when necessary.