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Good Shepherd Food Bank needs your support this Thanksgiving

September 22, 2022   ·   0 Comments

Thanksgiving is approaching and for some that means turkey with stuffing and all the trimmings – no questions asked. For others, it means relying on the Good Shepherd Food Bank to make it through.

As we enter in the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas, volunteers with the Good Shepherd Food Bank (GSFB) in Alliston are reminding you of the increased need for nutritious food in our community – available to all who need it.

Since the onset of the COVID–19 pandemic, volunteers at the GSFB have noted a 60 per cent increase in food bank usage. As the need continues to skyrocket the GSFB has made changes to improve their processes for clients, including moving locations and changing its inventory control process.

“We are currently serving 563 clients per month,” Dave Bradbury, Vice President of the Good Shepherd Bank told The Times. “This is a sixty per cent increase this year so far.  The numbers started a steep increase in May and has continued throughout the summer due to a lack of basic income and the increasing cost of rent and groceries.”

Bradbury says the new demand has changed how the GSFB operates, including its expenses, food volumes, number of volunteers needed, and need for help.

“We have almost depleted our inventory of non-perishable foods and because we are committed to provide nourishing foods, our cost to purchase fresh produce, meat and dairy products has doubled over the same period as last year,” said Bradbury. “We currently have an amazingly strong volunteer base, but as our volunteers burn out, move away, and start vacations again, we are once again looking for more help.”

Bradbury said the GSFB moved locations (to Wellington Street West, beside Rocco’s) once they realized the previous facility wasn’t large enough for the increased demand on services.

“We looked for a place to grow and moved into our current facility in January 2021 and now we have increased refrigeration and freezer capacity; larger client shopping area and increased warehouse capacity,” said Bradbury. “During the beginning of the COVID–19 pandemic we handed out ‘hampers’ pre-packed with food, for the safety of our clients and volunteers. In November 2021 we were able to resume client shopping where they can select the food they prefer and need.”

This Thanksgiving, and leading up to the holidays, Bradbury says the GSFB is considerably low on all non-perishable foods.

“We need a little bit of everything,” he confirms. 

The items needed the most include:

Chili & Stew

Canned meats (such as ham, chicken, corned beef etc.)

Hamburger Helper

Instant Mashed Potatoes

Sidekicks

Mexican Kits

Long pasta (spaghetti, etc.)

Coffee/Tea

Juice boxes

Fruit cups

Granola bars

Regular size cereal

Jell-O & cake mix (for kids’ birthdays)

Gluten Free non-perishables

Peanut Butter

Jam

Salad dressing

Condiments (ketchup, mayo, BBQ sauce etc.)

Cooking oil

Feminine hygiene products

Toothbrushes

Shampoo

Toilet paper

“Personal hygiene products are essential, we strive to offer a variety of options for all our clients,” adds Bradbury. “Our clients have the ability to come in and choose exactly what items they want, having a wide variety of non-perishable foods gives our clients more options as well as accommodating clients with different dietary needs.”

This Thanksgiving, Bradbury says the GSFB also requires additional assistance to help sort food donations.

“We have reached out to previous volunteers and have a few student volunteer opportunities over the next few months to cover the influx in donations,” said Bradbury. “High school students looking for community hours, who are available on Saturday October 8 – Thanksgiving weekend – can email Jaime Karsch at jaimekarsch@gmail.com

On an ongoing basis, Bradbury says, “We need everyone to realize the importance of food banks in our society. As we operate with donations of food and money from our community, our doors are only open with the generous support from our community.”

“Zehrs has provided our food bank with day old bread and bakery products for many years and our clients appreciate this generosity,” said Bradbury in recognition of regular contributors to the GSFB. “Sheldon Creek Dairy also provides a weekly donation of their products and Beattie Farms donate and deliver fresh produce to us on a weekly basis. Dorsey Farms provided free corn to us this season and Honda of Canada Manufacturing loaned us a van to use at the peak of the COVID–19 pandemic – this was most appreciated as we moved large volumes of food to meet the new demand.”

Bradbury says he’d also like to personally thank all the neighbours with gardens that donate fresh produce over the summer months. “All assistance is greatly appreciated!”

As the GSFB has always strived to provide nutritious food to help those in financial difficulty, it offers a wide variety of food which is non-refrigerated, refrigerated, frozen and fresh. 



         


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