The holiday season brings out the giving spirit in Valley residents, and community partners dig deep to help those less fortunate. This year the Madawaska Valley Food Bank needs your help to reach its goal of $35,000 by year end and on Friday, December 9 106.5 Moose FM will air a Radiothon for that purpose, jointly sponsored with community partners Barry’s Bay Metro and Yuill’s ValuMart. Above: Madawaska Valley Food Bank Radiothon poster
This is the fifth MooseFM Radiothon in support of the MV Food Bank — they began as annual events but were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid protocols. Covid had other negative effects on the Food Bank too: first, Food Bank volunteers were required to develop a curbside pick-up model for clients to collect their groceries; then more significantly, the number of households relying on support from the Food Bank soared from about 30 to 100. But when the Covid funding that helped support those extra families ended, the need did not — MV Food Bank continues to serve 100 households. Two Food Bank representatives, Paul Thompson and Tish Whitfield, told The Current about their campaign to raise funds.
Whitfield stressed that a big thank-you goes out to the community for their support. She said, “We could not do this job without them…. We need the community behind us in order to do what we do.”
Thompson explained that the cost to run MV Food Bank is $100,000 per year. The Food Bank accepts donations of cash or food. But cash donations are particularly useful as they go directly into local purchases of the best quality, highest protein content foods items that they can afford at any given time. The donated cash buys fresh food: milk, meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, eggs, and bread. Any other food items such as tinned goods or condiments are donated items and baby products, toiletries, hygiene items, and pet food are also donated to the Food Bank, not bought by it.
Help from local businesses, organizations, and individuals is vital to MV Food Bank. Some people may not realize that the Food Bank in Barry’s Bay covers the area from Whitney down to Palmer Rapids and Quadeville, and stretches east to Wilno. Schools in the region help out as well; some with food drives, and others including Whitney Public School and Palmer Rapids Public School actually grow food to donate to the Food Bank. The Grow-A-Row program run by Madawaska Valley Gardening Club continues to thrive and Club members share their extra transplants in the spring and fresh produce at harvest time with MV Food Bank.
Thompson said they were also grateful for an excellent team of well-trained volunteers. He reminded readers that the curbside pick-up model requires the volunteers to stand outside in all weathers to greet, register, and serve the Food Bank clients.
How can you help?
Here’s how you can help the Food Bank reach its year-end goal of $35,000
- This Friday, Dec.9, listen to106.5MooseFM, or visit the Moose on location in Barry’s Bay at Yuill’s ValuMart 10am-1pm and at Barry’s Bay Metro 2pm-5pm
- E-transfer donations to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Drop-off donations will be accepted in Barry’s Bay at Gift It Gray, 19492 Opeongo Line (Hwy 60), or at Easton Accounting, 12 Dunn Street.
- Mail donations by post to PO Box 161, Barry’s Bay, K0J 1B0
Location location location
MV Food Bank continues to operate out of a small garage at 8 Martin Street in Barry’s Bay. The organizers hope to one day find bigger premises in Barry’s Bay, with more storage space and maybe even a loading dock and some privacy for Food Bank clients. Whitfield explained that being in a central location in the area served by the Food Bank is more important than having ideal premises because clients from the outer edges of the area must budget carefully for gas to drive to Barry’s Bay for food every two weeks.
Editor’s note: The Food Bank address is 8 Martin Street, not 18 as originally reported. We apologize for any confusion.