Communities step up and answer the call for help

Hundreds of volunteers collected, sorted and packed the food donations for Port Cares in Port Colborne Saturday.

The call for help went city-wide in both Port Colborne and Welland Saturday, Nov. 3/2018, and both communities came together to answer the call.

The food donations were overwhelming at both the Welland Food Drive and the Port Colborne/Wainfleet Lions Club Food Drive.

An army of volunteers in both communities hit the streets Saturday morning collecting food and cash donations from all the neighbourhoods.

In Port Colborne, the food collected went towards the Port Cares Reach Out Centre, in Welland, the Salvation Army, The Hope Centre and Open Arms Mission were the recipients. The food is distributed by each agency for their clients in need, the November food drives the biggest collection effort all year.

Port Cares executive director Christine Clark Lafleur was right there with the volunteers, helping to sort and pack boxes at the sorting centre set up at the Christian Life Assembly Church.

“This is like, better than Christmas,” Clark Lafleur said. “This is the best day of the year.”

“It’s great to see the community come together,” she said. “I’m seeing people who have been volunteering for 30 plus years to kids coming out for the first time.”

“It’s a wonderful chaos but it all works and benefits a good cause,” she said about all the activity.

Volunteers Drea Maddalena and Tatiana Santaralla unloading a truck of food donations at the Port Colborne sorting centre.

Outside the centre friends Drea Maddalena and Tatiana Santaralla were unloading a truck load of food they had helped to collect.

Drea has been volunteering for three years.

“It’s important to give back to the community and help out those in need,” she said.

Santaralla was volunteering for the first time.

“It’s amazing to see the community come together like this,” she said.

Port Colborne Lions Club president Scott Wolfe was busy inside the centre, packing and sorting boxes of food to go to the Reach Out Centre.

“This is one of the high points of the Lions’ year,” Wolfe said.

“We see the amount of people volunteering to help out growing every year,” he said. “I think many people realize how fortunate they are to have food and want to help out people in the community who have problems putting food on the table.”

In Welland, the sorting centre was at Club Richelieu on River Rd.

As vehicles pull in loaded with food, volunteers quickly move in and empty the food to the sorting tables where volunteers sort and pack the food which is loaded onto trucks for the Salvation Army, The Hope Centre and Open Arms Mission.

“This is a really important day for us,” said Wendy Hetherington of Open Arms Mission.

“It really stocks up our food bank and helps us to help more families,” she said. “We are seeing more and more families needing help and we want to be there for them.”

For volunteer Alex Plop, the need was there once.

“I really want to just give back to those that helped me when I was in need,” she said.

For the Welland Food Drive organizing committee there was an abundance of volunteers for the day.

“We must have about 500 to 600 volunteers around today, collecting and sorting food and packing the trucks,” she said. “People really want to help.”

“It just keeps getting more and more amazing year after year,” she said.

“It was so amazing how much got done, tons of food,” she said. “We even had a lot of food come in after we were done collecting, people just brought it themselves. It’s so heartwarming to have such strong community support.”

At the Welland Food Drive an army of volunteers quickly sorted and packed incoming donations.

 


 

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