Pelham Cares Food Drive Helps Fill Holiday Hampers

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The 26th Annual Pelham Cares Food Drive was held on Saturday, December 3, 2016. More than 150 volunteers gathered to food from across the town for the door to door collection.

The door to door collection in previous years was run by Jerry Berkout. This year the Fenwick Lions, Fonthill Lions and the Fonthill and District Kinsmens working with Pelham Cares organized the pick ups. There were three teams from Pelham Minor Hockey volunteering along with the Fonthill Scouts and Brock University students.  At 9am regular volunteers of Pelham Cares and food drive volunteers headed out over the town.

Emma Lahay a Brock University student, originally from Brantford, volunteered for the first time. There were 10 students from the Brock Business Club, the students are competing in a Business Club Competition in Ottawa in January. One of the requirements is that each member must have 30 volunteer hours. Lahay also said “fifty percent of the houses had donations out already” and on her route “about 70 percent made a donation.”

The cars, trucks and trailers filled with food were lined up outside the collection facility at Rice Road Greenhouses. Donations were unloaded and taken inside where an additional 80 volunteers sorted and date checked the donations. This is the third year sorting at the greenhouse. “It is nice as it is just down the road from Pelham Cares” said Grande. Last year Vineland Estates donated boxes for the donations to be placed into. Pelham Cares carefully broke down the boxes and saved them for this years drive.

“It takes a small army to bring it together,” said Lori Grande, Pelham Cares Coordinator Client Services. “It is an unbelievable amount from a relatively small community.” On average Pelham Cares assists over 50 families a month. They also provide holiday hampers for families that register who need help over Christmas or the holidays. “We do see people come in due to seasonal job losses or their EI runs out.”

Pelham Cares started getting the word out about the food drive in early November for both volunteering and donations. Grande said “we are very fortunate, we were overwhelmed with volunteers. We had to turn some down, we are keeping a list for next year.” Tim Hortons donated coffee, hot chocolate and timbits for the volunteers. A Pelham Cares volunteer donated pizzas for lunch as the sorting goes into the afternoon.

Grande said she will not know how well they did this year compared to previous years until everything has been loaded into their office. She figures it will be about the same as last year. Once the donations are at the main office they will be further sorted and organized over the next three to four months. Depending on the donations hopefully some of the donations will least until spring or early summer.



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