Posts Tagged ‘food drive’

Fill a bag with more than food

October 1, 2010

Most people are reminded about the need to donate food during the holiday season, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the food bank typically holds their food drive campaigns. At this time of the year the paper food drive bags are often included with the local flyers that are distributed to each household. Volunteers may also take these bags door-to-door encouraging the community to donate non-perishable products that can be distributed through the many different hamper and meal programs providing food assistance in the region.

The Food bank kicked off their Thanksgiving Food Drive on September 27. During the food drives we’re often reminded over the next few days and weeks about the number of people who rely on our food donations for assistance throughout the year. Each food drive also sets a goal of how much food they predict they’ll need between drives to support the number of people in need. All non-perishable food donations are graciously appreciated and accepted, but there are certain items that are in more demand than others. Click here to find out which specific items are most in need. (more…)


Who doesn’t love pasta?

April 12, 2010

For a week I took a few breaks during the day, from my regular role of helping people book in food hampers, to ask patrons some simple questions on staple foods that tend to make it into food bank donation bins. These are items  such as pasta, potatoes, rice, canned meat and fish, and peanut butter. I love pasta, which probably explains why I chose to write this article before one of the other four staple foods.

Pasta is a staple food in most households, since it’s such a versatile food item that can be incorporated into almost any dish or meal. Therefore, it’s no surprise that at the moment the Food Bank’s website lists canned pasta and macaroni and cheese as the top ten most needed food donations. The Food Bank is hoping to collect these items to meet the demand of more 25 000 people in the Kitchener-Waterloo who access emergency food programs and likely rely on pasta for a cost-efficient, quick to prepare, filling meal at home.

“What’s it like (when pasta isn’t around)…feels terrible…you have kids at home and nothing to feed them…pasta is a good cheap way to go.” – Male, 20s

For some pasta is a household favourite for a relatively cheap meal. One of the volunteers at our program reminisced back to a time when someone could purchase ten boxes of Kraft Dinner for one dollar. At that point in his life, this was very significant because Kraft dinner was a cheap food to keep his stomach full after he became injured and was unable to return to work. Pasta was the easiest solutions to get help him through such a rough time. “Now it wouldn’t kill me to not have pasta…but it’d be a disappointment…you get a hunger for that every now and then, you know?” So he continues to eat pasta to this day, but rarely Kraft dinner, and makes time to be more creative in how he prepares his pasta.

Pasta is a quick dish to prepare that you don’t have to add a lot of other food items to in order to achieve a great tasting meal. Time is never something anyone seems to have enough of and this likely reveals another reason that pasta is a staple in many households. A single man in his 50s had a great way to reflect on why he regularly eats pasta: “Working off and on is hard. You can’t always spend time cooking when you’re always out looking for work. You get tired and need something quick.” When you’re low on energy after a busy day, pasta is exactly that: a quick meal to prepare, or a tasty side dish to add to another meal that leaves you with a full stomach.

“When all you have is meat it’s like I’m only eating half a meal…you miss those sides, you know?” – Male, 50s

For a fair number of people, pasta is more of a meal than a side dish though. So things can become complicated when it’s not available at home. This involves re-planning some of your regular meals or going without a favourite food. A single mother of two boys mentioned that without pasta at home: “It’s a pain in the butt! Pasta feeds a lot and it’s cheap. It’s a heavy meal.” This leaves her searching, like many other families would be, to find another meal to fill their stomachs on a limited budget.

“Healthy food is quite expensive…pasta helps manage things in the best way.”
– Female in her 40s from a family of 5

“When you’re in low-income, you’re in constant survival mode…you don’t often have choices. You just use what you have.” – Female in her 50s from a family of 5

The Potato Blitz lives on through local children

March 16, 2010

Just because February is over, and the official House of Friendship Potato Blitz has wrapped up, doesn’t mean people can’t continue to donate potatoes! A great little story of a community doing just that comes to us from Riverside Public School in Elmira.

During the first week of March, Riverside held a Potato Blitz event in support of House of Friendship. Sarah Martin, a teacher at the school, and wife of House of Friendship staff member Taylor Martin, organized the Potato Blitz which received a fantastic response.

Sarah’s Grade 2/3 class loved the responsibility each morning of rounding up potatoes from the classrooms into a little red wagon and then counting them. The little troopers collected 122 bags of potatoes from their classmates, most of which were 10 pound bags! Overall, the students of Riverside Public School donated and collected 1,220 pounds of potatoes! Great job kids!

“It was fun to watch all of the little children carrying in bags of potatoes each morning. Many of them had them in their backpack, making it necessary to carry their lunch in their hands.”
-Sarah Martin

The potatoes were picked up by a driver from the Emergency Food hamper Program on Friday March 5th and were given to people in need of food assistance during the week of March 8th.

This was a great experience for everyone and we are hopeful that Riverside Public School’s Potato Blitz  will happen again next year! Thank you to everyone who took part!