Thanks to the Christmas Exchange and the generosity of the South Dundas community, some 666 people living in South Dundas sat down to a Christmas dinner this year who, due to tough times, might not have been able to afford one.
According to Exchange coordinator, Carol Richer, the 170 boxes provided food for 428 adults, 191 children and 10 infants. An additional 37 boxes were distributed to singles through the Dundas County Food Bank.
“We are actually down about eight baskets this year,” said Richer on Thursday, December 20, as the boxes were being picked up at the Morrisburg Legion.
In addition to the food, just over 200 children received gifts through the local Angel Tree programs along with mittens, toques pyjamas and books donated through various individuals and events in the community.
Once again the Exchange and the Angel Tree programs were generously supported by the community although, Richer said “early indications are that we are done a bit in monetary donations. However, some of our donations come in a bit later, so we are hoping that will put us on track.”
The Christmas Exchange counts heavily on financial donations as much of the food that goes into the boxes is purchased.
“We buy the turkey or hams, along with the fresh vegetables, potatoes and fresh fruit,” said Richer. “Much of the canned vegetable requirements are donated, but the Exchange purchases the large cans of fruit juice, bags of cookies, some of the canned cranberries requirements and occasionally, we have to top up the canned vegetables.”
The Exchange and the Dundas County Food Bank work very closely so that any non-perishable food that is donated, and is not included in an Exchange Food Box, is directed to the Food Bank.
Nothing is wasted.
Richer says that some people may not be aware of just how much food is purchased by the Exchange for the boxes. That is why financial donations and programs like the Top Up program at Valu-mart are indeed very necessary to the Exchange.