Food bank in need of support during Christmas season

Crisis situations sometimes have the ability to bring communities together, and that’s what appears to have happened at the Filling the Gap Food Bank in Canora during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pastor Mavis Watson, who has been the volunteer administrator of Filling the Gap for about the past nine years, said Canora and area residents have been very generous with donations of food and other needed items since the pandemic began in spring.

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“I’m so grateful,” said Watson. “People have contacted me with their offers to donate, and as a result I have not had to do much outreach to ask for donations.”

The Canora Ministerial Association oversees operations of Filling the Gap. Referrals of names of those in need of assistance come from other pastors, as well as other community leaders including RCMP, Social Services, Canora Ambulance, banks, and public health. Those who receive hampers are eligible to apply again after two months have gone by.

Watson said the biggest need for Filling the Gap between now and Christmas is for cash donations.

“We need the finances for Christmas hampers,” said Watson. “Money donations give us much-needed flexibility for filling the hampers, including purchasing fresh items such as potatoes.”

For those who are considering donations of non-cash items, she reminds donors of the importance of checking expiry dates.

“If the item has expired, I have to throw it away,” explained Watson. “It’s required by the law that I can’t keep anything past its expiry date for the Food Bank.”

Watson said that since the beginning of the pandemic, she’s seen a notable change in the requests for hampers. She estimates that about one-third to one-half of the requests for help are coming from people who have never asked for assistance before, including newcomers to Canora.

“I’ve seen an increase in applications from people with health issues, including mental health problems,” she observed. “It appears that a significant number of the requests are from people who have moved to Canora because of lower living expenses, but they coming here with no relatives and no job. Many of them are on government assistance for disability reasons. A number of them have also been asking for help from the Canora Thrift Store for items such as bedding.”

The names of those who request hampers are kept anonymous.

Watson said she appreciates the widespread community support over this past year.

“It’s been a difficult year for everyone,” she admitted. “Our family have been dealing with some family health challenges. Everyone has been flexible and understanding, including those receiving hampers if we had to change a delivery date because of a last minute doctor’s appointment.”

Prospective donors or those with questions are encouraged to contact Watson directly at 306-563-5315.

Donations of food items for Filling the Gap can be made at the Gateway Co-op grocery store in Canora, where cash donations are also accepted.

“They can purchase Gateway Co-op gift cards and leave them at customer service, with directions to make a donation to the Food Bank,” Watson concluded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crisis situations sometimes have the ability to bring communities together, and that’s what appears to have happened at the Filling the Gap Food Bank in Canora during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pastor Mavis Watson, who has been the volunteer administrator of Filling the Gap for about the past nine years, said Canora and area residents have been very generous with donations of food and other needed items since the pandemic began in spring.

“I’m so grateful,” said Watson. “People have contacted me with their offers to donate, and as a result I have not had to do much outreach to ask for donations.”

The Canora Ministerial Association oversees operations of Filling the Gap. Referrals of names of those in need of assistance come from other pastors, as well as other community leaders including RCMP, Social Services, Canora Ambulance, banks, and public health. Those who receive hampers are eligible to apply again after two months have gone by.

Watson said the biggest need for Filling the Gap between now and Christmas is for cash donations.

“We need the finances for Christmas hampers,” said Watson. “Money donations give us much-needed flexibility for filling the hampers, including purchasing fresh items such as potatoes.”

For those who are considering donations of non-cash items, she reminds donors of the importance of checking expiry dates.

“If the item has expired, I have to throw it away,” explained Watson. “It’s required by the law that I can’t keep anything past its expiry date for the Food Bank.”

Watson said that since the beginning of the pandemic, she’s seen a notable change in the requests for hampers. She estimates that about one-third to one-half of the requests for help are coming from people who have never asked for assistance before, including newcomers to Canora.

“I’ve seen an increase in applications from people with health issues, including mental health problems,” she observed. “It appears that a significant number of the requests are from people who have moved to Canora because of lower living expenses, but they coming here with no relatives and no job. Many of them are on government assistance for disability reasons. A number of them have also been asking for help from the Canora Thrift Store for items such as bedding.”

The names of those who request hampers are kept anonymous.

Watson said she appreciates the widespread community support over this past year.

“It’s been a difficult year for everyone,” she admitted. “Our family have been dealing with some family health challenges. Everyone has been flexible and understanding, including those receiving hampers if we had to change a delivery date because of a last minute doctor’s appointment.”

Prospective donors or those with questions are encouraged to contact Watson directly at 306-563-5315.

Donations of food items for Filling the Gap can be made at the Gateway Co-op grocery store in Canora, where cash donations are also accepted.

“They can purchase Gateway Co-op gift cards and leave them at customer service, with directions to make a donation to the Food Bank,” Watson concluded.