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Rotary Club of Essex helps fill Food Bank’s Christmas Baskets

Members of the Rotary Club of Essex showed its unwavering support to the Essex Area Food Bank last Friday, as members dropped off a trailer-load of food as part of its annual commitment.

This food will help Essex Area Food Bank volunteers create 64 Christmas Baskets for its clients.

Of those 64 Christmas Baskets, 30 will provide for families with the remaining for individuals.

By hosting fundraisers throughout the year, the Rotary Club of Essex is able to support an array of community causes, including the Essex Area Food Bank’s Christmas Basket program. As part of this initiative, the Rotary Club members purchase over 40 turkeys, over 20 hams, potatoes, fruit and meat pies, cake mix and frosting, canned fruit and fresh mandarin oranges, cheese, vegetables, dressing, cranberries, stuffing, and an array of other items to ensure that those who are utilizing the Christmas Basket program have all the fixings to enjoy a holiday meal.

Gerry Belanger, Coordinator for the Essex Area Food Bank, is always speechless and very grateful for this annual donation that relieves a lot of stress from the Food Bank volunteers. It not only purchases the items, but delivers the food as well. It is hard to express the depth of gratitude the Food Bank volunteers have to the Rotary Club of Essex for ensuring this initiative takes place every year.

“It’s awesome,” he said as he and fellow Food Bank volunteers helped unload the trailer-load of food. “They do a fantastic job.”

They know that the volunteers are not the ones who are grateful, but also the clients who sign up to be a part of the Christmas Basket program each year.

Neil McBeth, a Rotarian with the Essex Club, said they are always pleased to support this initiative and ensure those facing economic hardships still get to enjoy a Christmas meal this holiday season.

McBeth said the local Rotarians believe the Essex Area Food Bank is an important initiative to support, and they are proud to support the Christmas Basket program every year.

In addition to the food, each of the baskets will be topped off with a $50 gift card for groceries. This is to ensure that the recipients can buy other items they may need to complete their Christmas meal.

This year, to the Rotary Club of Essex’s surprise, they learned that Josh’s No Frills committed $1500 towards the cost of the gift cards, exemplifying the spirit of the community supporting the community.

Josh Girard, Owner, noted head office offered an opportunity for the local store to make a donation, and he saw this project as a good cause to support. He saw an opportunity to help the Club in its initiative to support the community, recognizing it has also been supporting his store through this project over the years.

Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Essex Free Press