It takes the logistical planning of a military operation: volunteers at the Helping Hand Food Bank in Bradford West Gwillimbury regularly take donated funds, make up a shopping list, and head to the grocery store to purchase items in short supply, needed to restock the shelves.
Those items often include fruit juice, canned fruit, and snacks – like juice boxes, granola bars and fruit cups – to supplement school lunches.
The granola bars and fruit cups are even more important during the summer months, said Helping Hand Food Bank President Anne Silvey, when kids from families on limited incomes don’t have access to school breakfast and snack programs.
One of the food bank’s biggest partners in town has been Reali’s No Frills.
Owner Peter Reali and his staff work with the food bank to ensure the donated dollars go farther – with special deals, and the occasional freebie, to provide food-bank clients with what they need.
In the last week, Silvey and volunteers purchased cases of fruit juices, canned fruit, apple sauce and granola bars.
Staff at the store put together the massive order, then the volunteers packed the items in three vehicles – filling trunks, back seats, even front passenger seats – to transport the food from the store to the food bank on Moore Street.
A small army of volunteers then unloaded everything and put the food in storage – all in just over an hour.
“We do this regularly,” said Silvey.
The Helping Hand Food Bank, located at 123 Moore St. in Bradford, is a registered non-profit charitable organization, that provides food free of charge to its registered clients. The organization will be holding its Annual General Meeting on June 17 at the Danube Seniors Leisure Centre, 715 Simcoe Rd. in Bradford, at 6 p.m.
For more information, to donate, volunteer or to become a client, see bradfordfoodbank.ca.