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Painswick food drive shows kids are all right

'I’ve always wanted to give back to the community in some way and I had never found the right way to do it, but I feel this is perfect,' says local student
From left are Lindsay Benavides, Sophia Colmenero, Vanessa Colmenero, Joshua Espinoza, Isaiah Wood, and Christopher Colmenero. They are running a Painswick-area food drive in the city's south end and hope to bring in a lot of items to the Barrie Food Bank this month.

A local businesswoman and some south-end Barrie teens are hoping to bring in a huge haul for the city's food bank in a week and are looking for community donations. 

Lindsay Benavides says she saw a need to help the Barrie Food Bank and is getting an assist from some young family members and their friends.

Benavides, a local estate agent, says she wanted to arrange a fun way of giving back like she used to do in her previous line of work. 

“I used to work in an office setting and whenever there was a drive or something like that, people would give," she said. "I’m on my own working now and I wanted to continue that idea of giving back even if I am working solo.

"But I then wanted to somehow include the teens in the community," Benavides added. 

She recruited her nieces and nephews and their friends to help with the cause.

“I talked to them and they were more than happy to help out. They recognized that it is a great cause, but also it can help with their community hours for school,” Benavides said. 

One of those teen helpers is 15-year-old Isaiah Wood, a student at Maple Ridge Secondary School. He says said he got involved because he saw a chance to help others.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to the community in some way and I had never found the right way to do it, but I feel this is perfect,” Wood said. “It feels really good to give back.”

Wood also has some gentle words for those who are on the fence about helping out in their community.

“There is a little bit of work that goes into it, for sure, but in the end it is totally worth any time you put into it because you could be making a big difference in someone’s life,” he said.

Benavides says she has a friend who uses the Barrie Food Bank's services and is aware they are in need of some items.

“Right now, I know they are lacking items for mothers and are in need of other non-perishable food items,” she said. “It's important to get items there now, but I am also hoping to to do this again at Christmas time, which is a big time for them.”

As for a target amount of what she’d like to give, Benavides says she handed out about 500 flyers and, being her first event of this kind, she is “just hoping to give enough to help.” But the response so far has been positive, she adds. 

Those interested in giving are asked to contact Benavides at [email protected] or call/text at 416-571-6034 to arrange a pick-up of donated items. She and the teens will go around and pick up the donations to take to the food bank on Aug. 19.