As it gets closer to the holiday season, families are getting together and buying gifts. However, amidst the busy shoppers, one organization is holding its biggest food drive of the year – in order to raise $60,000 and more food than last year’s drive. The Mississauga Food Bank plays a very important role in our community. The food bank feeds over thousands of families and individuals each month; their motto shouts loud and clears, "Fighting hunger, feeding hope."
The Mississauga Food Bank is on a mission and it is confident to complete it. On Sunday, October 7th, 2012, Voice K went to two thanksgiving food drives located at different Loblaws. At the first Loblaws, we spoke to the executive director of The Mississauga Food Bank, Christopher Hatch.
“The three most important things the food bank needs are money, volunteers and food. There is so much work to be done, and the volunteers are crucial in order to achieve our goals,” Hatch said. “We need food so that we can distribute to other food banks and pantry programs. Money is important to keep the warehouse running so that we can store food up to 3 months in case of emergency needs.”
The food bank has been working hard to match the growing demand. 26 years ago, only 18 families were able to be fed per day, but now, each month, 65,000 people are able to be fed. The food bank cannot function without the help of local volunteers. Over 400 volunteers help out regularly, whether it's sorting out food, handing out donation bags, or creating awareness. We must also not forget the truck drivers that helped to deliver the donations to the warehouse, as they also played a crucial part in the fundraising.
"I really wanted to help out," Dobson said," I think the food bank is a necessary organization to help the community. After all, this is a group effort."
"It's great to help people at a holiday season. The food bank is doing an awesome job, it's good to feed people who are hungry," said Aida, another volunteer. “By volunteering, I get that good inside feeling."
"I don't donate often, but I donate a lot when I do," Michelle Subhani said, gesturing at her mountain of filled donation bags in her grocery cart. "I gave everything that was on the most needed item list, and I made sure to give a lot of peanut butter. The food bank is a great idea; it should be brought up more often”.
"One thing we are trying to do is to create awareness about the food bank. Many people that are hungry don't even know that there is a food bank, and some are embarrassed to come," Nicholls explains, "we want to remind people that the food bank is here to help."
Many people think that everyone in Mississauga is well fed, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. Some large number of working families, refugees, and people that recently lost their jobs depend on the food bank. It is very important that we lend a helping hand by donating. Surprisingly enough, peanut butter is the most needed item. So, next time you have a food drive, why not consider a peanut butter drive? The food bank supports nutritious foods, such as soups, canned meats and veggies. Yes, they need non-perishable items but we should try to avoid donating only cookies and chips because a balanced diet for the hungry ensures their health.