A local group known for their parties is giving the Helping Hank Food Bank reason to celebrate.
Bradford’s Street Party Collective officially delivered $15,450 worth of canned items to the food bank’s warehouse on Moore Street on Tuesday.
The donation was made possible through a partnership with Peter Reali of Reali No Frills, who provided all of the items at wholesale price, including chunky soups, pasta sauces, canned fruit and juices.
“We didn’t want to do cereal and stuff like that, because it takes up large amounts of space, and for this much dollar value sponsorship we wanted to get the biggest bang for nutrition that takes up the least amount of space, but gives the most hearty meal to everybody,” said Ward 4 Coun. Joesph Giordano, who helped organize the event.
The funds were raised thanks to a combination of 890 ticket sales and donations from local businesses as part of the ’80s and ’90s themed street party that took place along a closed section of Blue Dasher Boulevard between Empire Drive and Sundragon Trail on Saturday Aug. 12.
While Giordano initially estimated the event raised about $9,000 for the food bank, the final total turned out to be much greater.
“When you have something that people care about and people see value in it, the small business community in Ward 4 and some of the other businesses within Bradford started taking note, so we had additional sponsorship come through,” he said, adding the expenses also came in slightly less than expected.
Last year, the group was able to raise about $4,200 for another cause, and hoped to exceed that amount this year, but Giordano said he was surprised by just how much the exceeded their goal.
“Making the donation is probably the most memorable thing about the whole experience. ... Showing up with a cheque is one thing, but showing up with everything that they need on their shopping list with a crane truck? It just makes it that much more impactful,” he said, adding the truck was supplied courtesy of TCS Construction.
The councillor expressed his thanks to all of the residents and businesses that contributed, including one of the costume contest winners who donated the $400 value of the prize — a watch donated by Ward 7 Coun. and local jeweller Peter Dykie — to the food bank.
Carolyn Khan, executive director at the food bank, was happy for such a large donation and said they’re currently handing out about 500 of each of the donated items per month.
“The bulk order helps us tremendously ... This is an amazing impact. We could basically feed our families for a month or two months from this donation,” she said.
The food bank currently has 700 clients on its roster and serves 500 to 550 families per month which equals about 1,300 individuals accessing the food bank on a monthly basis, said Khan.
“I think that this Summerlyn street party blew me out of the water with the amount of funds that they raised and it shows that our residents in Bradford really do care about people who are experiencing food insecurity in our little town,” Khan said, adding that coincidentally, September is Hunger Action Month with Food Banks Canada.
The month still isn’t over, but based on the number of people they’ve helped so far, Khan expects their numbers will be up for September, part of an overall trend of increasing demand for food banks.
During the food bank’s annual general meeting in June, Khan shared year-over-year numbers for the month of May that paint a picture of just how much that need has increased.
- May 2020 saw 206 visits serving 504 people
- May 2021 saw 226 visits serving 601 people
- May 2022 saw 320 visits serving 920 people
- May 2023 saw 517 visits serving 1,335 people
This means that between 2020 and 2023, monthly visits to the food bank have more than doubled and the total number of people being served has almost tripled.
For anyone looking to make a donation, Khan said the food bank is still looking for breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal, peanut butter and canned meats.
For more information, visit their website at www.bradfordfoodbank.ca.