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HEFC Heroes for February - Ottawa Fire Service

Lynn Sherwood

The new year off on a positive, if somewhat startled, note for Louisa Sims, our Executive Co-ordinator when, on January second, a deputation of eight Ottawa Firefighters arrived at HEFC with 1000 pounds of nutritious food. Ottawa Fire Services are our February Heroes of HEFC.

According to Jen McNeely, their public information officer, Ottawa Fire Services decided this year to embark upon an additional service project for our community by collecting food donations. As she explained, Ottawa Firefighters work on 24-hour shifts at each of the 29 fire stations in our city. While on the job awaiting emergency calls they collaborate to prepare their own meals (at their own expense) at the fire stations and therefore must purchase groceries as part of their meal planning. Since they need to be able to respond instantly to any emergency they travel as a total crew, in their fire truck to purchase groceries. This is why we sometimes see fire trucks cruising down our streets with no apparent fire in mind.

This year, for the 35 consecutive days before Christmas each fire crew in each fire station, purchased one extra item each time they went shopping.

Since there are 29 fire stations in Ottawa, and, according to Jen, most crews picked up more than one extra grocery item on their shopping trips, this amounted to a substantial amount of food , much welcomed by staff at HEFC who were contemplating empty shelves as we entered the new year. Our generous firefighters came from two stations # 35, on Alta Vista Drive, and station # 43 on Old Richmond Road but brought food collected from fire stations across the city. The staff, volunteers and clients of HEFC thank you all for your thoughtfulness and generous support.

Every year local businesses, schools, churches and service clubs organize food drives during the Christmas season which help us stock up on non-perishable food for our clients during the long winter months. After Christmas, a busy season, our shelves are quite depressingly empty and we much appreciate donations which help us replenish our stock and ensure that our clients can rely on us to provide nourishing food during the winter. Recent changes to provincial social assistance rates and qualifications have resulted in extra hardships for many of our vulnerable folks who are unable to work. Since they do not have sufficient income to meet their monthly expenses they must use their grocery budget to cover basics like utilities, rent and transportation costs. Your continued support enables us to ensure that we can continue to serve the 1800 individuals a month who come to us for assistance.

Members of the Board of HEFC are happy to attend your events or fundraiser - even early on a Saturday morning - to talk about the service we, all together, provide for our community. Call us at 613 737-9090, e-mail us at or for more information.

Heron Emergency Food Centre is located at 1480 Heron Road and is open 4 days a week to provide emergency food to people in need in Ottawa South. Check us out on Twitter


We welcome cash and food donations including tuna, canned vegetables, canned tomato sauce, canned soup, chick peas, kidney beans, cereal, baby formula, and snacks for children

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