Helping Hand Food Bank introduces new fall gift card drive

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Helping Hand Food Bank in Tillsonburg is introducing a new fall grocery store gift card drive this year to replace its annual one-day ‘food blitz.’

A new Thanksgiving Grocery Store Gift Card Drive will give people the opportunity to purchase a gift card at their favourite grocery stores in town during the month of September. Leave the gift card at the store and the food bank will pick them up. Donations by cash or cheque at the food bank will also be appreciated.

“I’d like to thank the community for all their support during COVID – food, financial, and people who have offered to volunteer,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, Helping Hand Food Bank interim coordinator. “Unfortunately we’ve not been able to take any new volunteers because we have to keep our numbers down.

“I’d also like to take the opportunity thank Joan Clarkson for everything that she’s done, as she is in the process of retiring. She’s done a lot for the community, a lot of for the food bank, and for the food drive.

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“I’d also like to thank the volunteers at the food bank, those who are still here working and the ones we cannot have in at the moment. We haven’t forgotten them, we appreciate them, and we just want to say thank you.”

The one-day food drive/blitz, which brought in 10,000-20,000 pounds of food each year, had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It annually kicked off a Thanksgiving-Christmas season of community food drives that would bring in up to 50,000 pounds of food.

“It’s a time when we would normally have 50-60 people in the building at any one time during that day – and obviously we can’t do it now for so many reasons,” said Fitzgerald. “So this year we’ve gone to the gift card drive. We hope that this makes it easy on the community, that they can simply buy a grocery store card when they are shopping. It helps us to buy local and is our way to say thank you to local businesses for their support. We get many things on sale, the stores support us that way too. Doing a gift card drive will just help us, especially when… clientele is probably going to increase.”

Gift cards can be any amount, typically starting at $10.

“Whatever anybody can give us, we are grateful for anything. We are hoping that people will support us.”

Gift cards will only be used for Helping Hand Food Bank shopping – they will not be given directly to food bank clientele.

cabbott@postmedia.com