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St. Joseph's Food Bank kicks off food drive this Friday

By Celina Ip

The St. Joseph's Food Bank Fall Food Drive kicks off this Friday and food bank representatives hope to fill up the shelves to prepare for the fall and winter months. Pictured here (from left) are volunteers Lucien Leblond, Norma Valiquette, McKenzy Renshaw Valiquette, Napoleon Comeau, Lucie Langevin, Leona Brideau, Lise Hall and Etiennette Wright.

The St. Joseph's Food Bank Fall Food Drive kicks off this Friday and food bank representatives hope to fill up the shelves to prepare for the fall and winter months. Pictured here (from left) are volunteers Lucien Leblond, Norma Valiquette, McKenzy Renshaw Valiquette, Napoleon Comeau, Lucie Langevin, Leona Brideau, Lise Hall and Etiennette Wright.

The St. Joseph’s Food Bank will kick off its Fall Food Drive this Friday.

Heading into the fall and winter months, food supplies swiftly diminish as the need begins to increase.

To cater to the growing clientele over the upcoming months, St. Joseph’s Food Bank president Frank Schilling expressed that this is the time of year that the food bank begins its annual fall food drive and encourages the community to give generously – especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching.

“Fall is the time when we have to strike an appeal for food donations. Some people perhaps are able to get outside employment during those spring and summer months, but that doesn’t apply in the fall or winter – which leads to that increase that we see,” said Schilling.

While the fall and winter months traditionally experience a surge in clients, he said that the food bank has thankfully seen an overall drop in the number of families – and children in particular – utilizing the service over the past year.

In 2016, more than 2,626 clients, including approximately 1,453 children, utilized the St. Joseph’s Food Bank.

This year, from January until the end of September, the food bank has served 1,767 clients, including 882 children.

Schilling said that the decrease in numbers is largely in response to Petawawa’s new food bank which has accepted many of St. Joseph’s former clients.

“It's gone down a little bit and part of the reason is that Petawawa opened up a food bank. We used to have clientele from Petawawa, but now there's a dividing line and anybody that's on the Petawawa side of the dividing line has to go to Petawawa. So we've taken them off our registration list,” he explained.

Despite the drop in clientele, the food bank continues to serve thousands of clients on an annual basis and it depend on the community’s generosity to help replenish the shelves and feed the local community.

This year’s Fall Food Drive will be a one-day event taking place at No Frills (1200 Pembroke St. W) and Moncion Metro (425 Pembroke St. E) from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Oct. 6. Volunteers from the St. Joseph’s Food Bank will be available to answer questions and collect food and monetary donations – with charitable receipts issued for donations over $10. After Oct. 6, the community can continue to donate by contacting the Food Bank at 613-732-3807.

cip@postmedia.com