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Hunger doesn’t take a vacation.
And with the shelves at the Regional Food Distribution Association looking more and more like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, this weekend’s food drive being staged by Canada Post employees couldn’t come at a better time, says RFDA warehouse manager Andrew Disotell.
“Throughout the winter there’s not a lot of media attention and not a lot of donations that come in on a regular basis,” Disotell said Tuesday at the Canada Post processing plant on Alloy Drive, where the postal workers launched their third annual food drive, hoping to outdo last year’s $31,000 effort.
“Right now the shelves are pretty bare. It’s a real critical time of year for us to have a food drive because right now I’m looking at about half a pallet of food that I can fill a food drive to operate with. At any one time my warehouse can hold four or five truckloads of food.”
Letter carrier Zena Ariganello said the idea originated in Kelowna, B.C., and has since spread to Northwestern Ontario, where 10 communities, including Thunder Bay, Beardmore, Terrace Bay, Longlac, Marathon and Nipigon, now take part.
Helping others is what postal workers do, she added.
“We’re doing this because we all feel very fortunate to have food on our table. We had more than $31,000 in donations last year and it all goes to our communities all around us. We have 10 communities that have jumped in and supported us in the surrounding areas.
“We’re hoping to make it a much larger thing and get bigger cities on board and helping out every year and having it grow and grow,” Ariganello said.
The RFDA supports 33 food bansk in Thunder Bay and throughout the region, supplying enough non-perishable goods to feed upward of 13,000 people each month, basic necessities that most people take for granted.
Residents can participate in one of two ways.
On Friday drop-offs will be accepted from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Canada Post Mail Plant at the corner of Balmoral Street and Alloy Drive or at the Paterson Family Food Centre at 570 Syndicate Ave. South.
On Saturday, in addition to those two locations, food donations will be accepted at the Lakehead Labour Centre and the Safeway on Red River Road, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Postal employees will also volunteer their time to traverse the city, picking up curbside donations residents leave outside their homes.
“It’s incredibly simple. You just go to your cupboard and grab the first two cans you see, put it in waterproof bag and leave it in a highly visible area. You can leave it on the curb. Volunteers will be driving around, picking it up and taking it to the RFDA.”
Curbside collection begins at 11 a.m.
Disotell said the RFDA is in need of just about every non-perishable food item one can think of, from pasta and canned vegetables to peanut butter and cereal.
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