Tuesday/Thursday at First

We continue our 1-hour outreach hour where people are invited into the building one at a time. Those who have housing are offered a bag of groceries and those who are homeless are offered a “to go” bag with sandwich and juice and ready-to-eat items (granola bars, pull top applesauce & protein, oranges). Many thanks to Beryl Itani and Tanya Pritchard for providing sandwiches this week, and Lorainne McLarty for supplying 5 dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies! I am also grateful for new volunteers this week: Tanya Pritchard, Leslie Atwell, Richard Wensink and Jayne Brooks (from St. Paul’s United).

We handed out approximately 31 bags of groceries plus 28 smaller bags to those who are homeless in the last week. That was a large increase in the number of homeless people over the week before. As we continue to gather names, addresses and phone numbers (when available), we are seeing quite a number of new people, particularly those living unsheltered.

You have all heard, I suspect, of the federal government’s promise to support Food Banks across the country who are all facing similar challenges—few donations from individuals and a drop in corporate donations as well. Their ability to “recover food” from large stores like Save On/Safeway/etc has been impacted by the fact that stores are having a hard time keeping shelves full of certain non-perishable dry goods for paying customers—so that little is coming close to expiration/best before dates and being donated.

This government help to Food Banks will hopefully help Food Banks keep their doors open. To that end, beginning Easter week we will only distribute groceries on Tuesdays, though we will continue be open both days in order to provide food for those who are homeless and to continue collecting names for the Tax Clinic, and connect with people.

We have received $850 donated for “Outreach” through our Tithely (website) app, a one-time donation from the KFC/Taco Bell in Orchard Park Mall (some shredded cheddar, mayonnaise, taco shells, etc) some of which I was able to share with Mandy at the Gospel Mission. The bags of cheese (“real cheese!” people exclaimed) have been very appreciated additions to the bags of groceries we’ve handed out.

The first attempt at online ordering was not entirely successful—a $149 order turned into $89 as they were unable to fill some parts of the order due to lack of stock (and I even ticked off “will accept substitutes” when I ordered!). I hope this might change in the coming weeks as the supply and restocking of grocery store shelves happens. But in the meantime, my deep thanks to our shoppers: Virginia and Tyler Park, Tanya Burke (who also picked up the order at Superstore last Saturday), –and for donations of food from Richard Wensink, Ken and Catherine Symons, Fraser and Hannah McLennan, the Seethaler family, Helen and Dennis Verokosky, the Pritchard family, Ken and Linda Ottoson, Jim Dalgliesh and others I may not know about!

Thank you for your continued support of outreach in whatever ways you can at this time—most especially with your prayers!

Much love to you,

~Cheryl Perry