The West Nipissing Food Bank is ending the year on a high note after the annual Christmas fundraising radiothon, held on December 4th on the Moose FM, generated $11,188 in pledges and many boxes of food. Don Clendenning, food bank chair, said it was a joyful event and the results surprised him. “It went off better than expected. I anticipated because of COVID, and the time of year and everyone spending on Christmas and other fundraisers from different organization, that it would be a bit dry. But no, everyone came through – I think we had also about 135 pounds of food.”
He mentioned some major donations from the commercial sector, including $2,000 from the local Canadian Tire, delivered by owner Pierre Marchand, to be matched by a further $2,000 from corporate head office, and a $1,000 donation from Julie Aubin and her staff at Pharmacie Aubin Pharmacy.
Clendenning said the participation level really moved him. “What stood out? A lot of people coming in with smaller donations. We even had two people who are actually clients come in and donate… We had donations from $10 to up to $1000, right across the spectrum. It was really great.” That so many people participate makes it true community event, in Clendenning’s estimation. For him, the food bank acts as a catalyst to pull the community together. “For some reason it really does – ‘galvanizing’ is the word.” The effort to join in makes people feel part of the food bank, even if they never had to use the service themselves. The chair noted that they have some donors who pay on a monthly basis, and those regular contributions keep the food bank in the black.
“The other thing that surprised me was, we asked for 4 or 5 volunteers to spend what time they could during the day to greet people. The lowest we had during the day was 10!” Was it fun? “Yes! Great fun! There was dancing! To put on a good front and look more professional we got everyone t-shirts and a hoodie with Food Bank on the front and Volunteer on the back. We’re going to use those anytime we have a function that’s sort of public – food bank and food rescue days, when we go to do pick-ups and stuff like that. It helps identify us, so the cashiers don’t stop us going out the door with a wagon of food,” laughed Clendenning.