Communities show outpouring of support for food drives

Volunteers spring into action to unload a truck at the Welland Food Drive Saturday at the sorting station at Club Richelieu.

Both the Welland Food Drive and the Port Colborne and Wainfleet Lions Club Food Drive had an outpouring of support from their respective communities Saturday Nov. 4/2017.

In Welland, like a well-oiled machine, trucks full of food collected by teams in the neighbourhoods would pull up into place at Club Richelieu, volunteers would quickly unload the truck and send it to the sorting table. Within minutes and army of volunteers would sort and pack the food which was then loaded onto waiting trucks for The Salvation Army, The Hope Centre and Open Arms Mission to be distributed to those in need in the coming months.

“The committee that we have, the Welland Food Drive Committee, they know how to organize the volunteers and make it all happen,” Monique Findlay Welland Food Drive Coordinator said Saturday. “I have never been on a committee that is so efficient and reliable. The efficiency we are seeing here today is due largely to those committee members.”

Generations came together to help out those in need at the 24th annual Port Colborne and Wainfleet Lions Club Food Drive Saturday.

At the Port Colborne and Wainfleet Lions Club Food Drive, volunteers at the Christian Life Assembly sorted and packed food brought in by route volunteers which was then sent to Port Cares Reach Out Food Centre.

“Have a look around,” Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney said. “Our community comes together year-after-year to participate in this.”

“Generations of families are involved. The people are having fun, getting to know new people and helping out the community,” he said.

“This is one of the best days of the year, better than Christmas,” Port Cares executive director Christine Clark Lafleur said. We have a great community from our very young to our senior statesmen, everyone is pitching in to help.”

Welland MPP Cindy Forster has been a volunteer at the Welland Food Drive since it started.

“If it hasn’t been the full 25 years, it’s been close to it,” Forster said. She noted she did have to take a couple of years off for personal reasons.

“I normally do a route, but this year all the routes were subscribed, once they put out a plea for help earlier this week they filled their routes in no time at all,” she said.

“It is fantastic here today, there are so many volunteers, it’s just wonderful,” she said. “We have many students here which is also fantastic, we have the next generation of volunteers here today.”

The timing couldn’t come any sooner for the food drives in both communities. The shelves were very low.

“From what I understand, the food banks were at critical level,” Findlay said in Welland.

In Port Colborne the need was just as great.

“This certainly is coming at a time of need,” Christine Clark Lafleur said in Port Colborne about the need for the food in Port Colborne.

Port Cares distributes from 17, 000 to 20, 000 lbs of food monthly to clients, they provide over 200 weekly meals to those in need and they provide lunch kits for school children in need.

The Hope Centre is just one of three organizations that distribute food to those in need in Welland.

“We are grateful to the community for donating to those in need in our community,” Mark Carl, executive director of the Hope Centre said.

“People are finding it hard with high rent, expensive housing, high energy costs, they are finding it really hard to make ends meet and they are needing food more now because of the expensive costs of living,” he said. “Some families have to choose between paying the bills and keeping a roof over their head and eating.”

Carl also commented on how other communities notice the outpouring of support received through the Welland Food Drive.

“Whenever I see other food banks in Ontario they say ‘Your community puts food out on the porch and the community goes out, picks it all up and brings it to the food bank?’ to which I say ‘Yes,’ and they respond ‘That’s amazing.’”

For the Welland Food Drive there have been several groups that come together and support it over 25 years and Monique Findlay, Welland Food Drive coordinator really didn’t want to single anyone out for mention, their support over the years has been deeply appreciated.

But she did mention the people at Club Richelieu for special notice.

“But Club Richelieu has been the backbone of the food drive for a quarter of a century,” she said. “Alain Breton and the people here at Club Richelieu, their generosity is unbelievable.”

“The other group I want to mention is the Craig family of Tim Hortons in Welland,” she said. “They have been there for us since the beginning and their generosity year over year is humbling, the way they support this.”

Though the food drive has done a great job of stocking the shelves at the food banks for now, ongoing support and donations are always welcome.

In Port Colborne, donation information can be found at the Port Cares website: .

In Welland, donation information is available through each organization’s website:



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