“We’ve got a lot more who have signed up (for food) since COVID started”

Rotary Easter Food Drive gives a great boost to Cramahe/Colborne Food Bank

Article & image by Al Rivett

Above image, (L-R) Front: Shirley Ross, Cheryl Sams, Cathie Robins and Glenda Quinn; Back: Glenn Spence, Brian Mappin and Bea Mutton

It’s 11 a.m. on Easter Sunday, and a small group is gathered in the hall at the back of the Prospect Community Church on King Street in Colborne. They are volunteers who ensure all runs smoothly at the Cramahe/Colborne Food Bank.

The food bank opens once a week each Sunday and, in half an hour or so, volunteers will begin the work of distributing mostly non-perishable food items to those in the community who are food insecure and rely on the service it provides.

Chief among the volunteers is supervisor Glenda Quinn. She notes the year-long pandemic has greatly increased the number of food bank users, those who have been thrown an economic curve by the fiscal and social impact of the pandemic.

“We’ve got a lot more who have signed up (for food) since COVID started,” said Quinn. “Our weekly average is 35 to 40 families who come here. Some we deliver to because they’re seniors and others that come to get the food.”

She claims the food bank once occupied only a single room in the church. In the past year, however, the food bank has moved into the building’s main hall, to allow for social distancing among volunteers and food bank users as well as for more space to store the food that is delivered each week. 

The main supplier to the food bank, says Quinn, is the Cobourg-based Northumberland County Food 4 All warehouse in Cobourg which supplies food banks throughout the county.

This week, families and individuals got an extra boost with donations from the previous weekend when the Rotary Club of Colborne hosted its Easter Food Drive at the Colborne Foodland. In total, five van loads of non-perishable food items were delivered to the food bank along with more than $1,000 in cash and gift cards.

“We were very pleased,” says Rotary president Cathie Robins of the community support. She also appreciates Colborne Foodland owners Peter and Tanya Armstrong whose ongoing support of the Rotary Club’s food drives has greatly added to their success. “It’s really nice to see people helping out their neighbours, as they should, because that’s a community.”

Robins presented cash and gift cards to Quinn who was grateful for the club’s efforts to keep the food bank’s shelves stocked.

“It’s awesome,” says Quinn. “We can go and buy vegetables and fruit that we don’t have donated to us very often.”

“When they did the (food) drive, we put out a board telling them what we needed and that’s what they gave us, which was really good.”

The money and gift cards, says Quinn, will fill in the gaps when certain foods are no longer in stock. When that occurs, she will purchase the items the food bank needs. She often uses cash donations to buy bread, something that doesn’t keep week to week.

Robins states the Rotary Club plans to organize another food drive close to Canada Day, once again at the Colborne Foodland.

Following the cheque and gift card presentation, a young women with her child who were in line at the food bank approached Rotary club members and expressed a heartfelt “Thank you.”

It is a small but noteworthy show of appreciation for the efforts of the Rotary Club members and those who volunteer during the year. 

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