Charity, firefighters launch holiday campaign
AMANDA MOORE/STAFF PHOTO
Nov 6, 2014
GRIMSBY — It takes a community to ensure no one goes without at Christmastime.
In fact, it takes thousands of people and hours to ensure that is the case in Grimsby. On Tuesday, the Grimsby Benevolent Fund launched its annual Christmas campaign at the Grimsby Fire Hall. Once again, as has been tradition for more than 25 years, the Grimsby Firefighters Association will lend its manpower to the cause.
“It takes thousands of man hours and for the community to get involved,” said Bruce Bond, a director for the GBF. “We can all feel good about helping the community.”
There is no effort too small said executive director Stacy Elia noting residents who cannot afford to give can lend their time.
“Not everyone can afford to give the value of a hamper,” said Elia, adding “but they can afford to give food or a toy. Or they can volunteer sorting or packing.”
The mammoth task of sorting through donations begins Dec. 18 at Trinity United Church. Residents are asked to show up by 6 p.m. and be prepared to stay until 9. The following day volunteers are needed during the same time frame to pack the goods into the hampers. Volunteer drivers are needed beginning at 8 a.m. on Dec. 20 to deliver the hampers to clients.
Much of the donations will be collected by the volunteer firefighters who are once again asking the community to bring bags with food, toys, hygiene products and other sought after items to the Grimsby Santa Claus Parade on Dec. 6. It’s a partnership that has existed for more than a quarter of a century.
“We know there is a need in this town and the firefighters want to help,” said firefighter Jeff Dancer. “The need is whether we want it to be or not.”
That need is continuing to grow, said Elia, noting the agency expects to have well over 200 families registered for the Christmas program this year. Registration opened Monday and already 30 families had signed up. The GBF is currently spending upwards of $10,000 a month on food to ensure the more than 200 families it serves are fed each month. Many clients, said Elia, are shopping at the food bank weekly or bi-weekly.
But Elia knows there are others out there who could benefit from the services of the GBF. She recognizes that pride can stand in the way.
“We had one client who physically came here five times before she came through the door,” said Elia.
“I know there are an awful lot of people out there struggling,” said Elia. “It is my hope that they consider our services. They deserve this.”
The GBF’s goal is to have gifts and food for every family registered. Each family member is asked to list a wish, though Elia said most adult clients say they don’t want anything for themselves, they would rather children be provided for. When they do manage to get wishes out of clients, it is basic items like coats, boots, blankets and towels that they are asking for.
Community members wishing to fulfill those wishes are asked to call the GBF at 905-309-5664 starting next week. Donations of food and toys are also being sought. The GBF provides families with a turkey and all the fixings, it is asking the community members think of the long months following Christmas and to donate the basics like canned meat and fish, juice boxes, coffee, snacks and cereal. They are also hoping to provide clients with the holiday extras like chocolate and sweets.
“We want to make it special for our clients,” said Elia.
The GBF is also now accepting donations of pet food.
Food donations can be dropped off at the GBF, 40 Elm Street, or at the following locations: Station One, Giant Tiger, Maple Crest and Salit Steel. Businesses wishing to have a food bin can contact the GBF.