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Spring tea brings out strong community support for Food Bank

Gateway Community Church Mother's Day Tea & Bake/Plant Sale raises over $1,000 for Filling The Gap Food Bank.

CANORA - Volunteers were busy answering questions and making sales at the Gateway Community Church Mother’s Day Tea & Bake/Plant Sale on May 13.

Those with a sweet tooth were greeted by a fully stocked homemade baking table, and anyone looking for garden ideas had a wide selection to choose from at the plant table.

Proceeds from the event supported Filling the Gap Food Bank of Canora.

Volunteer Kulchera Nicholson greeted everyone in attendance, adding, “We’re pretty much all feeling the pinch lately to some degree in these tough times. It’s nice that we can enjoy each other’s company today to celebrate Mother’s Day and at the same time support those who are really in need financially.”

Patricia Kachman, another volunteer, opened with prayer.

“Thank you Lord for the privilege of celebrating Mother’s Day and for everyone who has come today. Thank you for everyone who helped with preparations today and that we can come together in this way to support the Food Bank. Amen.”

Pastor Mavis Watson, volunteer administrator at Filling the Gap Food Bank for close to 10 years, thanked those in attendance for their support, adding that the need for the Food Bank remains high, thanks to the rapidly rising cost of living.

“The same amount of money that you used to spend on grocery shopping to buy eight bags of groceries will now buy you four.

“Another thing that that I've noticed with the Food Bank is the change in the demographic of those in need,” said Watson. “There have been a lot of people that have moved into our community in the last couple of years that have come out of the energy sector, for example, in Alberta. And some of them arrived after having spent all of their savings, trying to keep their lives going back in Alberta. Because of the cutbacks in the energy sector in the province of Alberta, just for an example, they would arrive in Canora in hopes that they could make a fresh start. They had sold everything there. Some of them lost everything there, unfortunately. They arrived here and the last bit of money that they have they spent on renting a property.

“So I want to just say thank you to the town office of Canora, because they're very much aware of us. They have sent a number of these families our way and we've been able to help them because you have helped us.

“I want to also say that it's been a privilege, particularly these last six, seven months to help the Ukrainian refugees that have moved to Canora.”

Watson said her predecessors originally operated the Food Bank out of their homes, but the need became such that a building was required.

“I want to thank Lorie Regehr, she's housed the Food Bank all of these years ever since she purchased the Dairy Bar building. How many of you take time to go and have an ice cream throughout the summer? Well, the next time you do would you tell her thank you for letting the Food Bank stay at absolutely no cost, and to use that facility to help the community.”

That kindness is utilized to aid those who bring their needs to the Food Bank.

“We give out an average of anywhere from four to eight hampers a week,” said Watson. “And at Christmas time, we have the privilege of giving substantial food hampers to the community.” Watson said late August is also usually a very busy time at the Food Bank.

“The mothers are buying clothes and shoes for their kids and they spend whatever they have on getting their children ready for school. That's often when they'll come and say, ‘Can I get help with the food bank because I've spent all my money on getting my kids ready for school.’”

Watson said hampers are filled by following the Canadian Food Guide “to the best of our ability. We want to put a little fruit in there and some fresh meat. And for that I want to say thank you to Gateway Co-op here in Canora for purchasing a steer for the last two years and filling our freezer so we could give meat. And so there are ways in which the community helps us, I have a farmer right now who has been donating fresh farm eggs because you know what the cost of eggs is.”

“So an average hamper now costs anywhere up to $150, $180,” continued Watson. “For a single individual, we try to give a week's worth of food. And we've had families come and ask for help with as many as 11 people in the home, so you can imagine the size of a hamper like that. It is important to not only give goods, but the finances that you're going to give today helps me to purchase all that fresh fruit and vegetables, and things like bread and butter for these families. So thank you so much.”

The Food Bank is under the auspices of the Canora Ministerial Association.

“We found that the pastors and the priests in the community were the ones that were most often receiving a telephone call or knock on the door with a need,” explained Watson.

Watson opened the floor to questions, one of which was “How do people get in touch with you?”

She welcomes phone calls to her personal land line at 306-563-5315, whether it’s someone in need, someone looking to make a donation, or even someone interested in helping fill hampers, which usually happens twice a week.

Watson reminded those in attendance that the Bible urges us to look after those who are in need, The Gospel of John sates:

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’

Again Jesus said, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’

The third time he said to him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep,’” (John 21: 15-17)

It appeared that those who attended the event took the words to heart, because over $1,000 was raised, according to Patricia Popoff, Gateway Community Church Treasure.

“Wow! Bless the Lord.”

Joyce Jordeczka won the door prize of a gardening basket.