The ROLL Aid Centre and the Leeds and the Thousand Islands Public Library have partnered to collect food donations to support people in need.
Usually the centre only has a food drive, but this year it is changing things up and partnering with the library to help promote food security and collect food donations from Oct. 16 through Oct. 23.
Donations can be made at the Lansdowne and Seeley’s Bay Freshmart, as well as at the Lyndhurst branch Library.
The ROLL Aid Centre will also be available to collect non-perishable food, hygiene items and also some produce donations at those locations, but just on Oct. 23.
Non-perishable food and hygiene items can be donated for the ROLL Aid Centre.
"Libraries are often a good place for people to gather and have access either through Internet or information in general so it seemed to be a good fit to that this year," said Don Stiles, executive director with the ROLL Aid Centre.
The centre will have brochures filled with information about what they do and who they are available at the library as well. They hope by collaborating with the library through the food drive that they will be able to get the word out about the centre, said Stiles.
The ROLL Aid Centre is a non-profit charity that distributes food and other supplies throughout the township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands to their clients in need.
The centre relies on this annual effort to stock the shelves of its pantry for the year, as it's the only food drive they have, said Stiles.
According to Stiles the food drive and helping promote food security will help the centre fill its shelves and promote what services it offers.
The ROLL Aid Facebook page will be up and running throughout next week, and mailers have been sent to residents in Lansdowne, Lyndhurst and Seeley’s Bay, and posters will be put up to get the word out and promote food security in the area.
The center’s clients are also provided food through various other programs, but as the Christmas holiday rolls around they rely on it more.
They were once able to tailor what food they would give to clients through a shopping program they had that allowed users to shop through shelves of items in the centre, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, they started doing boxes of general items for people because they can't come in anymore.
"We thought there was going to be a big spike, and we were preparing for a big spike in clientele at the start of COVID, but we didn't really see that. We've had a few more clients lately," said Stiles.
He wonders if it's due to government funding like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit ending, but he can't be sure if that's why there is an influx of users.
Stiles said that some of the benefits many people were receiving throughout the pandemic from the government may have helped to elevate some food concerns.
The centre on average sees about 50 to 55 families utilizing the program a month, and in the last week or so saw that the numbers climbed by about three or four more families.
(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times