Kinsmen introduce Food For Friends

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The Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club has raised some much-needed funds in the community to help support the Helping Hand Food Bank and a Home Comfort Meal Program offered by Marcel Rosehart and Chrissy’s Catering.

The Club’s Food For Friends, as of Monday, has raised $12,040, including a $5,000 contribution from the Kinsmen, with 19 days left (as of Monday) remaining in the fundraising project ( – there is still time to make a donation.

The ‘fundrazr’ website notes, “COVID-19 has challenged Helping Hands Food Bank and Chrissy’s Home Comfort Meals in Tillsonburg in carrying out one of its key goals within the community – putting groceries and meals in the hands of those in real need…”

“I’m thrilled, these guys are terrific,” said Joan Clarkson, Helping Hand Food Bank coordinator. “They are fantastic. This whole community has stepped right up and given us so much.”


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With current COVID-19 restrictions, the food bank has had to change how it collect food. Food that has been donated has to be ‘quarantined’ for an amount of time, and that works for some donations, but the major food drives – in particular the food bank’s annual Fall Blitz that collects thousands of pounds of food – will be challenging this year.

“We don’t know if we’ll be able to get the food drive in this year,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, Helping Hand interim coordinator.

“We don’t have the space to quarantine what we get from the fall food drive, that we usually have,” said Clarkson.

“We’ll try to do something, but we don’t know what form it will take yet,” said Fitzgerald.

“We’re looking at other options,” said Clarkson. “Perhaps donations of food cards or other donations.”

“We’re still thinking about it,” Fitzgerald nodded.

“We have to wait and see what happens (with the COVID-19 pandemic),” said Clarkson. “The food (supply) is starting to go down though… and we have to be so cautious about what we accept.”

“Our original goal was $10,000,” said Shane Curtis, president of the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club, noting they hoped to raise $5,000 from community donations, which would be matched by a $5,000 donation from the Tillsonburg Kinsmen.

$10,000 – raised in less than one week – was presented to two recipients Friday morning – $7,000 to the Helping Hand Food Bank and $3,000 to the Senior Meals Program.

“KIN Canada, which is based out of Kitchener, came down with direction in early April that all in-person KIN events are prohibited,” said Curtis. “It really affected our ability to not only have our every other week meetings, but it made it near impossible to raise money.


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“We provide a bartending service that includes Smart Serve and a liability insurance package for Buck and Does and special events and we have missed out on four events that were booked. We had to cancel our annual Easter Egg Hunt (April 11) and we postponed our largest yearly fundraiser, the golf tournament, from late June until August.”

A small Kinsmen subcommittee of Curtis (President), Cedric Tomico, Dave Martin and John Danbrook, Dave Klosler and Scot Bolton was formed.

“We wanted to provide food to those in need but after speaking with the food bank, the traditional food drive method came with too many risks because of contact,” said Curtis. “Cash donations are preferred at this time. We budgeted $5,000 of our own funds and wanted to leverage those funds on a matching system to community donations. We launched the campaign on fundrazr the Friday of the long weekend and 89 hours later we had exceeded our goal. This is certainly a new way of fundraising for us but it certainly proved to be effective.”

Marcel Rosehart from Chrissy’s Catering provides Home Comfort meals for $10 and the Kinsmen wanted to commit a portion of the Food For Friends funds to meals for seniors who are the most vulnerable.

“They are an important segment of our population and we want them to stay home if they are able. The $3,000 will provide 300 meals,” said Curtis.

A portion of the donation to the Helping Hand Food Bank has been directed toward meals for youth. “Sadly some youth in our community rely on the volunteer snack programs through our local schools for a nutritious meal, which they aren’t getting with the schools closed,” said Curtis.

Kin Mike Nguyen, who manages the Tillsonburg Kinsmen social media channels, posted the Food For Friends campaign through their social media and club members sent out campaign details to their contacts.