TRURO – Many hands make for busy work and it was all hands on deck just before Thanksgiving as food was unloaded and weighed at the Colchester Food Bank.
Dubbed the Big Truro Mall Give, a week-long food drive brought in 3,540 pounds of food, as well as a $1,000 donation, to the food bank.
“This is just fantastic,” said Darlene DeAdder, lead coordinator at the food bank, while staff and volunteers unloaded food from the bucket of a tractor. “This is really going to start us off. We see a lot of families and the cold is starting to come. The community is always so helpful – neighbours helping neighbours, that’s our motto.”
The Truro Mall was looking for a way to give back to the community, and Leslay Harris, senior property administrator, said they hadn’t done anything similar in a while.
“We decided we wanted a campaign around Thanksgiving,” she said.
With the hope of having great success in reaching their 1,000-pound goal of food donations, they knew they’d need a way to transport the donations to the food bank on the Esplanade. They approached Green Diamond Equipment, who didn’t hesitate in saying yes.
“This all came in over the week,” said Amanda Langille, of Langille and Colburne, which is working with the mall doing marketing. “We had contractors challenging contractors, and then businesses started challenging other businesses, and all the stores bringing in food.”
“That made it really fun,” said Harris.
“When people know there is a sense of urgency, they always step up. Our expectations have been surpassed,” Langille added.
Every month, the food bank assists more than 800 families, with that number continually rising.
“As the cold sets in, the heating will affect everything, so we will definitely see an increase (in the numbers),” said DeAdder.
While the food bank is still planning on its annual 12-hour food drive next month, DeAdder said no date has been set as of yet. Construction of a new, permanent home is on track and it’s expected the agency will move into the facility on Prince Street sometime in November. The 12-hour food drive is normally held in the middle of November, but that could change depending on the timeline.
DeAdder said she’s not concerned this food drive at the mall will have a negative impact on the upcoming one.
“The community is so wonderful to us. They know we’re doing this one for Thanksgiving, and they know that one will lead us into Christmas,” she said.
It took staff and volunteers about an hour to unload and weigh the more than 3,000 pounds of food, and DeAdder has something on a wish list for the new facility that could speed up the process.
While unloading, bags of food were handed over, one by one, to be weighed on a small scale. After it was weighed, it was handed off to someone else, who loaded it into a crate on a palette.
DeAdder said she’d love to see an in-ground scale, which would allow a palette and its entire contents weighed.
With the Big Truro Mall Give, the Truro Mall had pledged to donate $1 for every pound of food collected, up to $1,000. A cheque for the full amount was presented after the food was unloaded.
DeAdder said it would take staff and the volunteers another couple of hours to sort through all the food that was donated – filling up shelving and wall space as they go along.