Their holiday labours having paid big dividends, local service clubs were gathered last week to mark the donation of $30,000 to Woolwich Community Services.
Representatives from the Kiwanis Club of Elmira, the Floradale Friends of Dog Guides Lions Club Branch and Woolwich Community Lions were at WCS February 3 to present the agency with a cheque on behalf of many local organizations who helped collect for the food bank during the Christmas season.
In mid-November, about 60 volunteers from many local service clubs worked together to collect cash donations in Woolwich Township for the food bank at Woolwich Community Services. They had permission from multiple local businesses to set up tables to ask customers for donations. They had a bucket with a slot for checks or cash, and could also do e-transfers. Receipts were also available.
All told, they collected well over $30,000.
Many organizations joined in. Even the 1st Elmira Scouts lent a hand.
“The Scouts went out and scoured Elmira the week before and did all the door hangers for us,” said Hugh Weltz, a Kiwanis member. “They were too young to collect money, but they could do that, which was really great.”
The Kiwanis Club of Elmira has been spearheading food donations for the food bank at Christmas for many years. Originally, volunteers collected food donations door-to-door, but had to find another way to help the community during the pandemic when this method was not feasible.
Collecting cash donations turned out to be better, said Weltz.
“It’s good for the food bank, because they don’t have to end up with stuff that might expire and they can’t give it because of government regulations. So when it’s cash, they can buy what they need or what most people have a need for. You don’t end up with 3,000 boxes of Kraft Dinner then.”
“The biggest benefit is for the participants because it gives them choice. So they can go to the grocery store and purchase what they want and need, instead of us putting a whole bunch of items in a box in hopes that their family will want to eat it,” said Tina Reed, the community support coordinator for Woolwich Community Services.
Reed says her organization used the money to give people gift cards so they could buy the food they wanted including perishables like fresh fruits and vegetables.
The money went to help 210 families including 302 adults and 285 children in the township.
Weltz said he is grateful for the generosity, not only of individuals who donate, but also the business owners who help with things like letting the volunteers set up a table on their premises or other kind acts. He remembers the year previous Tri-Mach donated thousands of dollars worth of fresh gift baskets to the food bank.
Last year was the third time Kiwanis ran the drive as a cash fundraiser, and they plan to continue for the future. That said, Weltz says actual food items are still needed and accepted at the food bank throughout the year.
“The majority of the clubs in Elmira really got behind [this project] because it’s neighbours helping neighbours.”