The Owen Sound Salvation Army food bank has received several large food donations in recent days, including 9,000 eggs and 731 pounds of calzones.
Meanwhile, both the Salvation Army’s Bruce Peninsula Community Food Bank in Wiarton and Owen Sound Hunger and Relief Effort (OSHaRE) have received thousands of pounds of food from Gordon Food Service Ontario, whose president, Lisa MacNeil, has a cottage at Sauble Beach.
Those are among the donations that have been made by companies and organizations to local food banks in the past few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic causes more and more people to seek help.
Alice Wannan, family services co-ordinator at the Salvation Army in Owen Sound, said she is overwhelmed by how the community comes together when there’s a need.
“And in a situation like this where the need is so much bigger, it’s incredible to me to see the large companies coming forward and the larger organizations that are saying, how can we help? I think that is amazing and we’re seeing that every day,” she said.
Staff at the Owen Sound food bank picked up the large egg donation, made by the Egg Farmers of Ontario, from a Desboro-area farm Tuesday and have since doled them out to food banks throughout Grey-Bruce and in Collingwood, while keeping enough for their clients.
“This pandemic has no boundaries, so the food that we get in that we can share, we want to share it,” Wannan said.
“Obviously, those people who are making local donations, we make sure they stay local. But this kind of donation, we were able to share all over Grey-Bruce.”
On Wednesday, the food bank received 731 pounds of calzones from Delissio. Earlier this month, ERB Transport donated 1,782 pounds of frozen slider burgers and a shipment of paper towels and the food bank also received a donation of 2,235 pounds of chicken breasts.
Meanwhile, Gordon Food Service delivered three skids of food, weighing more than 3,300 pounds, to both the food bank in Wiarton and OSHaRE in downtown Owen Sound.
MacNeil said the company provides food for the restaurant industry, which has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. The last thing they wanted to see happen, she said, was for the excess food that the company no longer has buyers for to go bad in their warehouses.
The company always donates product to food banks in the Greater Toronto Area, she said, but because of the current situation, they decided to also reach out to organizations in Grey-Bruce that serve those in poverty.
Because MacNeil has a cottage in Sauble Beach, she decided to contact South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson, who put her in touch with Capt. Mary Millar at the Wiarton food bank.
“Of course I could think of no better place for the excess food. In her passion for this community, Lisa generously donated a load to our Peninsula food bank, which also services Cape Croker,” Jackson said.
“I was thrilled with Lisa’s generosity because our food bank is substantially taxed due to this COVID crisis; they’re running low.”
MacNeil said OSHaRE is a Gordon Food Service client, so she decided to also donate skids to that organization, which officials there say has seen a “huge increase” in the number of people it feeds each day.
MacNeil said now that she has the local contacts at OSHaRE and the Bruce Peninsula food bank, Gordon Food Service plans to continue offering them help.