Steve and I volunteered at the 19th annual Ancaster Food Drive on Saturday morning with Soroptimist. Volunteers drove around the community from 9 to noon picking up donations from door steps and throngs of us in the Parish Hall sorting that food into boxes.
If you have thought about making a difference, the need for food is all year round, not just over the holiday season. We have gotten into the habit of picking up one item each week that is on sale and adding it to our groceries. It is a small but steady contribution that goes into the drop-box by the exit. People sometimes wonder, what are the non-perishable items that are needed. Here are some examples:
- Canned meats & fish
- Pasta & rice
- Baby food, diapers and formula
- Soups (canned or dry mix), chili, and stew
- Peanut butter
- Canned vegetables, dry beans
- Powdered milk
- Toiletries, including toilet paper
- Donations by cheque because the food banks have significant deals and non-retail pricing available to them
I was surprised by a few things:
- how much pet food came in. There was also a box for toys;
- the number of clearly expired packets of sauces, spices, drink mixes, etc. There was actually a can of sauce that had exploded and was leaking;
- the number of opened packages of spices, pasta, bulk food with twist tie – these are a waste of sorters time at the food banks because they will be garbage;
- the fact that there are boxes just for Pork and beans and KD;
- the number of post-christmas foods, speciality coffee/chocolate drinks, as well as individual servings of soup mixes, popcorn, granola bars, etc; and
- the amount of food from local businesses that was donated for volunteers – wings from the Coach & Lantern, savory chicken crepes from Rousseau House, coffee from Tim Hortons as well as pastries, chips, fresh fruit, and much more.
I got a pedometer as swag from Inspiring from Within, the McMaster internal conference, so I decided to wear it. I clocked 1998 steps; according to About.com they give the range 1900-2400 steps, averaging at 2000 steps for 1 mile. That’s 1 mile in 2.5 hours. Not bad for just pacing up/down the aisles to sort and pack boxes of food.
Last Year’s Total was 75,000 lbs. This year, the volunteers boxed 79,000 lbs of food and $8000 in cash donations. Of that, $400 was from my Soroptimist club of Dundas-Ancaster-Flamborough (SI-DAF). This is us with Mayor Bob Bratina, the Chair of the Ancaster Food Drive Committee Tom Ippolito, and Karen Hadden from Ancaster Community Services & Information: