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Helping Hand Food Bank expands hours, reminds clients to register for Christmas hampers

During the pandemic, the Helping Hand Food Bank is encouraging donors to consider giving cash, instead of non-perishable foodstuffs

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the operation of the volunteer-run Bradford Helping Hand Food Bank.

To make it easier to hand out the pre-packed boxes of food to clients, “we’re expanding the hours,” explained Food Bank President Anne Silvey.

The food bank, located at 123 Moore St. in Bradford, will now be open from 1 to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays.

There are also changes planned when it comes to the Christmas Hampers handed out every year to food bank clients and those facing financial hardship.

The registration period, for hampers and children’s Christmas gifts, has been moved up and extended. Those in need of assistance this Christmas are being asked to register at the food bank between Oct. 2 and Nov. 13.

“People must register, if they want a hamper,” said Silvey. “This year, there will be no walk-ins, no extras… The registration is critical.”

Those asking for a hamper must be an existing or new client of the food bank, and cannot have registered for assistance with any other agency.

It may be harder this year to fill children’s wish lists. In a normal year, Bradford West Gwillimbury’s secondary school students raise funds and purchase age-appropriate gifts for the food bank’s Adopt-a-Family program.

With class sizes reduced and distance learning a key part of the reopening of schools, Adopt-a-Family may be put on hold in 2020.

Volunteers will still be filling hampers with a turkey or ham and all of the fixings for Christmas dinner, plus supplies for individuals, couples and families over the holiday break, and collecting toys for kids. Clients will be able to pick up hampers on Dec. 17 – not at Holy Martyrs of Japan Church this year, but at the Bradford Community Centre, 125 Simcoe Road.

Things may be different, under COVID, said Silvey, but the food bank will still be there to help ensure local residents can have a happy - and safe - Christmas.

During the pandemic, the Helping Hand Food Bank is encouraging donors to consider giving cash, instead of non-perishable foodstuffs. Cash donations make it easier to purchase needed supplies in bulk, and ensure that items are quarantined and sanitized before being handled by the volunteers.

The food bank now accepts e-transfers. Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $20.

For more information, see or call the food bank at 905-775-2824.