Fun and food are right around the corner

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Having enough money for the holidays is tough. Sometimes no matter how hard you budget, there just isn’t enough money to fill every expense. You’ll always be left with unfulfilled needs because something set you back financially and you just can’t catch up…Unfortunately this is a depressing reality for many of the patrons that we serve day-to-day.

Annually House of Friendship provides food assistance for one of the many holidays in the year: Christmas (which you can read more about here). But now as the calendar has turned, we are approaching the end of April and the celebration of Easter.

With Easter celebrations upcoming, many of the patrons we serve are faced with a choice. They can choose to spend some money to fill their children’s Easter basket with candy, toys or clothes; spend extra money on groceries for a special family meal; or pay one of their many bills coming due. Because sadly they don’t have the resources to do all three.

Obviously it’s not an easy choice to make. Ideally no one should have to make these choices; but unfortunately with many people living in low or fixed incomes, this is just one example of the many difficult choices they need to make. What get skipped? Who misses out? How long can the bill go unpaid? How do you explain to your children that they will not have the things their friends may have?

Having food assistance programs like us available gives people an alternative to fulfill one of their needs. Unfortunately we won’t have anything special or additional for our hampers this week. Each day we focus on meeting emergency needs.  We cannot provide supplemental, ongoing food or help. Irregardless this likely won’t affect the choices of the many households who will turn to us for food this week.

Roughly how many hampers will we do this week? Well in 2008, we distributed 594 hampers over the four days before Good Friday. Then 625 hampers in 2009, and 486 hampers in 2010. This Monday we distributed 195 hampers. Knowing this, and the fact that March was a little busier than last year, it’s safe to say that we’re expecting similar numbers for the remainder of the week.  It’s very likely that we could wrap things up Thursday afternoon, having packed close to 700 hampers in four days.

Serving a higher number of hampers means a few different things to our program. Most importantly it means that we’ll rely on the help of our volunteers to sort through donations and pack food hampers. Secondly our warehouse team will be kept extra busy to keep the table and coolers full for volunteer hamper packers, and constantly need to reorganize the warehouse to deal with incoming food shipments and donations. And finally it means that our intake staff will write-up more food slips after hearing many different stories from patrons of all ages.

However none of this work would be possible without the generous support of the community and local businesses. Any donation you make can make a lasting difference to a family or individual in need.

This weekend your food donation can make a lasting impression on you too! This Saturday April 23rd from 9am to 12pm the Kitchener Market is hosting some Easter activities. There will be fun for the whole family! You can hunt for Easter eggs, decorate a cookies, and get a free picture with the Easter Bunny by making a donation to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. (For details, please click here.) So I encourage you to take some time to enjoy Easter with the Kitchener Market and help a family in need.

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