OPP cruisers will be parked in front of supermarkets in communities across Northwestern Ontario on Wednesday to collect food for local food banks as part of the Stuff a Cruiser event.
Spokesperson Const. Brittany Bembeneck said the promotion is similar to ones held in the past around Christmas.
“We have partnered with the United Way [of Thunder Bay] this week to host local Stuff a Cruiser events throughout the OPP Northwest Region. And we’re stuffing the cruiser for local food banks throughout our region in hopes of lifting some of the burden for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday,” she said.
The campaign collects monetary donations as well as non-perishable food items and small hygiene products.
Bembeneck said the food bank in Dryden, where she is based, has noted an uptick in usage.
Jodie Wilson, director of philanthropy and community engagement with the United Way of Thunder Bay, agreed the fundraiser is urgently needed amid soaring prices.
“When we see the rising cost of food, we get more and more applications for food related programs,” she said. “This is really going to help if people bring food.”
The program is also timed to run alongside the United Way’s Local Love Week.
“It’s really great to have the OPP onboard,” said Wilson. “Not only are they doing Stuff a Cruiser in Thunder Bay, they are really going above and beyond to match our catchment area of the Manitoba Border to White River… in every community they have a detachment in Northwestern Ontario, which is truly amazing.”
Food and funds will stay in the community where they're collected, Bembeneck noted.
The Stuff-a-Cruiser program will run at the following locations and times:
Thunder Bay: Real Canadian Superstore on Carrick St. (9 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Kenora: No Frills on Park St. and Safeway on 1st Ave South (noon-4 p.m.)
Dryden: Walmart (10 a.m.-noon) and Safeway (2-4 p.m.)
Sioux Lookout: Giant Tiger (10 a.m. -noon) and Fresh Market Foods (2-4 p.m.)
Geraldton: No Frills (10 a.m.-noon) and Daneff's Food Market (noon-2 p.m.)
Longlac: Fresh Mart (3-5 p.m.)
Nipigon: Zechner’s from 1 p.m.
Red Lake: IGA Parking Lot & Balmertown Food Fair parking lot (2-6 p.m.)
Ear Falls: Ear Falls Plaza parking lot (2-6 p.m.)
Fort Frances: 901 Sunset Drive (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Rainy River: 622 Atwood Ave (10 a.m. -2 p.m.)
Atikokan: 130 Highway 622 (10-2 p.m.)
Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source