Blow Away Hunger with us this week at Great Plains Ford
Blow Away Hunger - powered by Great Plains Ford - kicked off this morning, and we need your help in our annual effort to collect food and cash donations for the Weyburn Salvation Army Food Bank. We are on location filling the back of a Ford F-150! We'll make the trip worthwhile for you, too - anyone who takes a donation down to Great Plains Ford today or tomorrow will be entered to win a snow blower from Canadian Tire. According to Community Ministries Worker Nicole Strickland, the food bank moves about 10,000 pounds of food through its doors in any given month. "A very rough estimate is around 2,000 to 2,500 pounds a week, because we give 55 pounds for one to two people and 75 for three, plus we do anywhere from seven to 12 a day, five days a week," she shared. She said every hamper gets potatoes, milk, butter, vegetables, fruit, as well as two meats, some bread, and frozen vegetables. "People prefer frozen so we try and keep frozen, but we had some canned stuff donated, so we're going to let it go first so it doesn't expire and then we'll get frozen again. It's the same price." When it comes to making donations of frozen foods, they won't turn it down, but due to the freezer space organization, they do like to get a heads up so they can make room. "We get a lot of beef donated, but not enough for the whole year, so we do go buy beef as well," she noted. "But if you have 200 pounds of ground beef, just call ahead and we'll make room. We don't want to keep meat in with other food. Our meat freezer has to be just meat." Strickland shared what kinds of items they're hoping to see donated during the Blow Away Hunger event this week. "We always go through canned tomatoes, Sidekicks, Hamburger Helper, because we always give a pound of ground beef with every hamper," she explained. "Pasta, pasta sauce, kids' school lunch snacks that are peanut-free, cereal, oatmeal, laundry detergent (the smaller the better), dish soap (smaller the better), and toilet paper, any package size." "We see a lot of people in December that we don't see the rest of the year. I haven't worked in January yet but I can see it being busier because people have the Christmas bills to pay," she noted. While an individual or a family can access the Food Bank once every 30 days, Strickland said they won't turn anyone away if they have no food. "It won't be a full hamper, but we always give enough to get you through until your hamper time." "There are always circumstances. If somebody says they got turned away, that's not our policy," she clarified. "We always provide food. Nobody will leave here hungry. And if they do, they need to come back and discuss it with us, because that's not our policy. That's not how we run things. We're here to make sure everybody's got food in their belly." Strickland added that donations of products with past best-before dates create an extra cost for the Food Bank. "Food Bank Canada gives us guidelines that we go by, so if it's past its best-before, we put it on a free shelf until it's past the food bank guidelines. But we get stuff from 2015. So it's a huge problem because then we end up having to pay for it to get thrown away," she explained. Other services provided by the Weyburn Salvation Army include ensuring people have what they need for their homes and even spiritual support. "We give people vouchers for the stores and we go and get them housewares and clothing and stuff as well," she said. "We do still have a Chaplain, and the ministry we do still direct people to our we have out of Estevan, we have Jackie who comes down here quite a bit and she's our Chaplain." We will be on location at Great Plains Ford from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today and tomorrow accepting donations. Bring yours and get entered to win a snow blower from Canadian Tire! If you can't come down, we'll pick it up - just call us at 306-848-1190. In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, DiscoverWeyburn encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverWeyburn app.