this holiday season.
Exchange organizer, Carol Richer said the number of boxes packed by the Exchange was down from last year. However, there were more registrations for single persons, 30, who pick up their supplies at the Food Bank.
Figures this year show that almost 200 children benefitted from the Exchange dinners and the various Angels Trees that collected gifts.
“With the adults (13 years and up), the children and the 30 singles, we probably provided enough food for about 465 people,” said Richer.
While the Exchange makes use of the canned food that is donated by the community, much of the ingredients for the meal are purchased through cash donations.
“Seaway High did a great job with their food drive and Ross Video also held a food drive. That is all in addition to the food donated through area churches and by individuals,” said Richer. “Those receiving boxes have the choice of ham or turkey which we buy along, with the fresh vegetables and fruit.”
These include potatoes, carrots and oranges.
“We are very fortunate here,” said Richer. “Our donations have come in enough to cover our expenses. I have heard that other areas haven’t been as fortunate.”
In addition to the food, cash and toys/gift donations, the Exchange counts heavily on other sorts of donations.
“The Seaway Valley Pharmacy covers all of our advertising in the newspaper. We have businesses and churches all supporting us, along with private donations. Then there is Craig Packaging that supplies us with the boxes. Where would we be without the boxes. It would be impossible. And we have the use of the Legion Hall here every year.”
“We have the banks who allow us to set up the Angel Trees and the Lions Club, Sandra Johnston in Iroquois and Beavers Dental who take care of the Angel Tree program. Then there are the kids, like those from St. Mary/St. Cecilia’s who step in and put the boxes together.”
“Sometimes stuff just shows up and I have no idea where it came from.”
“I get cards in the mail with cheques. Some come from people living on pensions, who feel this is so important.”
Richer explained that the Exchange also counts on its volunteers who organize, transport and sort the food and then pack everything in the boxes.
“Some volunteers have been doing this for many, many years. This year we had a healthy group of new volunteers which is nice to see.”
“The whole process is like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows what has to be done. They latch onto the new people and the job gets finished.”
For the last several years the Exchange has coordinated its effort with the Food Bank. All non-perishable food that does not go into a food box goes to the Food Bank.