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Sheridan Sun: Food bank struggling to meet holiday demands

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As the weather grows frigid, the staff of the Mississauga Food Bank work overtime to ensure a steady supply of food for the area’s hungry and impoverished. The pressure to provide intensifies with the advent of the holiday season, and winter just around the corner.

“With the economy in a downturn, it becomes harder to get people to donate,” said Khush Patel, assistant to the director of operations at the Mississauga Food Bank. “Everyone’s money is tight, and it’s a real struggle to get people to contribute.”

On December 10th, the Food Bank will launch its ‘Twas the BITE before Christmas’ event in Port Credit. The event will take place at the Oasis Banquet Hall, located at 1036 Lakeshore Rd. East, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Non-perishable food donations will be accepted at the door. Tickets go for $25.00 per person, or $200 for a table of 10, with all proceeds from the event going directly to the Food Bank.

While the Food Bank itself holds promotional events, a number of corporations also organize fundraisers throughout the year – among them Tim Hortons, Loblaws, Sobey’s, the United Way, and Research In Motion, creators of the Blackberry. In addition, the Peel Police contribute to the bank’s stockpiles with their Cram-a-Cruiser program, encouraging citizens of Mississauga to fill police cruisers to the brim with donations.

“We’re also investigating using an emergency fund, used to buy additional food to make up for the decrease in donations,” said Patel.

For many of the impoverished, the holiday season brings a difficult choice: to eat, or to celebrate. The Mississauga Food Bank and organizations like it, serve to allow the poor to do both.

“The majority of our donations come in the months before Christmas. Immediately after that, it gets a lot harder. It’s important that people donate year-round,” said Patel.

One does not have to travel far to find people dependent upon the Food Bank to make it through winter. Jason, who declined to give his last name, is seated in a wheelchair outside the Shoppers Drug Mart near the crossing of Hurontario and Dundas, bundled tight in old clothing and grasping a handwritten sign. “I try everything I can to get food,” he said. “I hit up the food bank in Mississauga, and a couple others close to here. Sometimes the Loblaws here gives me food too.”

“Winter’s the worst.”

Sheridan students, known for their generosity through blood donation drives, used clothing collections and volunteering, are urged to keep the Mississauga Food Bank and organizations like it in mind. For more information regarding the Food Bank’s ‘Twas the BITE before Christmas’ event, visit http://www.portcredit.com or contact the Mississauga Food Bank directly at (905) 270-5589.

This story originally appeared in the Sheridan Sun.

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Written by tomczerniawski

March 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm

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