September 26, 2012

Agency seeks regular food bank donations

As published in The Erin Advocate

As it launches its Thanksgiving Food Drive, East Wellington Community Services is hoping more people will consider making donations on a regular basis.

Special events in September brought in 1,000 pounds of food and more than $800 in financial support for the Food Bank.

"We are fortunate to have such a supportive community, filled with individuals, groups and organizations that continue to go above and beyond when help is required," said Erika Westcott, Manager of Client Services and Volunteers at EWCS. "We need to keep up the momentum – there is such on ongoing need."

Thanksgiving is a traditional time for an appeal, since people are more mindful of their prosperity. According to a recent Wellington County presentation, the median family income in Erin in 2010 was $97,400 (up 6.2% since 2008). That compares to the county median of $80,300, and the provincial median of $67,300.

The cost of living can put a severe strain on families, though, especially with the high cost of housing and our reliance on gasoline to get to distant workplaces.

"Some families are carrying very heavy debt loads, and may be a paycheque or two away from not being able to pay their mortgage," said EWCS Executive Director Nancy Henry. "If there is a loss of a job, or an illness in the family, or if someone needs retraining and their income is limited, we will very discretely provide supports for the family to get them through."

Non-perishable food is the primary need at the Food Bank, everything from soups, coffee, and noodles to canned fruit, canned fish and juice. Families in crisis receive food on a monthly basis.

Drop food off at the EWCS office at 45 Main Street in Erin (next to the liquor store). They can handle small quantities of garden produce, but call them at 519-833-9696 before you bring it. Also needed are personal products such as soap, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Donations of money can also be directed to the Food Bank, partly for EWCS to buy needed supplies. Families in crisis may also receive a pre-paid card with a small credit, which they can use at the grocery store.

"This allows them the choice to figure out what they need," said Henry. "Needing food is only a symptom of other problems. Respect is such a huge issue. Everybody carries a burden."

Some people organize their charitable donations through the website, which offers the options of a one-time donation or regular monthly contributions through a credit card. It has a section to provide instructions on how the money is to be used. For a quick link to the EWCS section of canadahelps, go to

It is also worth noting that if you make a bulk purchase over $20 to donate needed food or supplies, such as cases of Kraft dinner, and bring in a receipt for that item alone, a tax receipt will be issued.

People are being creative in finding ways to help, such as donating to mark a special event,  or in someone's honour, or even in lieu of a birthday present, said Westcott. Local churches and service clubs also continue to provide valuable assistance.

The EWCS Active Adults Line Dancers have been collecting supplies for the food bank, and on Sept. 7, they presented EWCS with a $100 food donation.

On Sept. 8, ReMax Real Estate Centre in Erin had a “free BBQ for food donation” event between 11 am and 3 pm. People got a free hot dog and drink in return for a food or money donation. The event raised $100, plus 385 pounds of food.

Dawn and Anthony Pulver hosted their 12th Annual Community Golf Tournament and selected the food bank as the recipient of this fundraiser. The 68 golfers raised $644, and collected a truckload of non-perishable food items, weighing a total of 615 pounds.

EWCS thanks Hillsburgh Foodland, Erin Valu-Mart, Mundell’s, and Erin Country Crops for supplying food for the BBQ and all the people who donated tournament golf prizes.

Looking ahead, the agency will also be seeking support during its Christmas Hamper Program.