Heroes of HEFC - extra generosity during pandemic
October edition by Lynn Sherwood
Greetings to everyone living in our beautiful Alta Vista during this strange and challenging fall season.
During this pandemic year when we are experiencing so many changes and challenges, harvest time and Thanksgiving are especially meaningful. We have, all of us, navigated this difficult time even though we do not know what challenges lie ahead. We are reminded during this mellow Thanksgiving season that we must take care of each other and share the bounty around us
I want to report that we are indeed keeping care of each other at HEFC. Thanks to the thoughtful generosity of so many, we are able to provide good nutritious food and a kind welcome to the many frightened and anxious people who are coming to us for assistance. We have had wonderful support from our donors and volunteers, as well as extra funding from government, the Ottawa Food Bank, and various volunteer groups. The Heron Road Community Centre has assisted with the extra cleaning and sanitization required and we have been able to keep everyone safe and to maintain our regular schedule of opening throughout the summer.
In order to maintain a safe “bubble” we have reduced the number of volunteers to eighteen, working together in smaller groups. These folks, our true Heroes, have put in many extra hours of work to keep HEFC operating efficiently. Clients are met at the entrance after providing information through our first floor window and are provided with seven days’ worth of nutritious food, which is taken to the entrance by a volunteer. Everyone wears a mask. The amount of food provided has been increased from three to seven days in order to reduce the need for contact with volunteers, as well as to address the increased need for food since so many people have been laid off.
Utilization of our service reflects the gradual improvement in the economy here in Ottawa. In June we served 1310 individuals in 373 families. In July we served 1205 individuals in 378 families, and in August we served 1189 individuals in 351 families. We are expecting that the combined impact of the seasonal increase in unemployment as winter approaches, as well as an expected rise in covid cases and the possible need for a renewed lockdown, will mean an increasing need for emergency food throughout the fall.
We want to thank everyone, on behalf of our clients, for the extra generosity this community has demonstrated during this challenging time. We have decided to postpone our annual Walkathon, our biggest fundraiser because of the pandemic, and are relying on the generous members of our community to continue to provide financial support. Please remember us.
Since the pandemic lockdown occurred just at the time when we usually have our Annual General Meeting, this meeting has been postponed until this fall. We are beginning planning for a Zoom AGM and are looking for new board members. If you are interested in learning more about the issue of food insecurity, meeting new people and participating in the community, give us a call.
We are putting out a call to this generous community. Keep the food and cash donations coming, bring us those wonderful tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini from your pandemic gardens, and consider becoming involved as a member of an active community board.
You can contact us at: 613 737 9090 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Heron Emergency Food Centre is located at 1480 Heron Road and is open 4 days a week to provide emergency food to folks in need in Ottawa South.
Check us out on Twitter @HeronfoodCentre
OCTOBER WISH LIST
Tuna, canned vegetables, canned pasta sauce, pasta, canned soup, chickpeas, kidney beans, cereal., cooking oil. Fresh produce is very welcome.