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(February 7, 2002, Gazette)

A special thank you from Campus Food Bank

Dear Editor,
Well, here we are, the other side of Christmas. And what a Christmas for the Campus Food Bank. We prepared 80 hampers for delivery and pick up the weekend before Christmas, and a further delivery of five “emergency” hampers on Christmas Eve. This along with our regular food bank operation. And we couldn’t possibly have done it without the support and generosity of the university community, and the St. John’s community at large.

There are some people who need to be thanked, and I hope in doing so I don’t leave anyone out. Thanks to all the regular food bank volunteers, as well as those who chip in to man the fort and make deliveries of hampers for the busy time of Christmas. Thanks to Joe Hanlon and his department for their help and cooperation in providing extra space for hamper preparation and making our job a little easier. A huge thanks to the Graduate Students Union, without whose regular budgeted donation we couldn’t possibly have made the necessary purchases, as well as MUNSU for their ongoing financial support. Thanks to all the MUN departments who donated full hampers or collected general food and financial donations. Thanks to all the individual donors who also dug into well worn pockets and so generously went the second mile to help us. A special thanks as well to the MUN Ballroom and Latin Dance Club for the huge collection of food at their Christmas dance, along with all those who took part in the Halloween and MUNITY Food Drives. Thanks are also extended to the staff at the Community Food Sharing Association for all their extra efforts at Christmas, as well as their continued cooperation throughout the year. And a super thank you to Noel Veitch, our food bank coordinator, for his tireless efforts on our behalf all year long. I’m sure there are more people to thank ... if I have neglected to do so here, please know that all your help was greatly appreciated.

And, as I said, here we are at the beginning of a New Year, a time of renewed hope for those less fortunate among us. Let us not forget that the need goes on all year.

Let me share some highlights from our food bank statistics for the year 2001. We served a total of 1,626 people, which includes a 29 per cent increase in the number of university students and their families over the year 2000. There was also an increase of 60 per cent in the number of students who attend other post-secondary institutions in the city who came to us for assistance. The total figure above includes 632 children under the age of 18. Our figure of 39 per cent children is comparable to statistics from across Canada.

It is sad that the figures are on the rise, and only emphasizes the importance of institutions such as ours who can lend some support to those less fortunate among us.

It is because of the continuing support of donors like yourself we can fulfill our mandate to provide help to those who need it, whenever they need it, throughout the year.

Our food bank is unique in this city in that we also provide weekly milk, bread and healthy recess snacks for approximately 40 families who use our services. This undertaking costs us approximately $250 per week, along with another $50 for weekly perishable supplies such as milk, eggs and margarine for the regular food bank operation. We also occasionally have to purchase infant formula and diapers as the need arises. So far, we’ve been able to keep ahead of this demand, but we may have to look into curtailing these services unless we can come up with the funds necessary to continue. Therefore, we will be looking at ways to augment our bank account in the coming months, and hope that, if you see a fund raiser or tin can ear-marked for the Campus Food Bank, you will remember those less fortunate and contribute what you can. Please don’t forget that all your recycling that is brought to the Smallwood Centre benefits the food bank thanks to the efforts of MUNSU in establishing a contract with Evergreen Recycling. As well, all suggestions for fund raising are welcome.

If you have food or monetary donations, please leave a message at our voice mail system 737-3467 and we can arrange pick up. Receipts for income tax purposes are provided. Food may also be dropped off at the Food Bank located in Corte Real, just follow the signs inside the door. Alternate drop-off locations include the MUNSU Office, located on the second floor of the University Centre (UC-2000).

As you move forward into 2002, may you be blessed with good health, good fortune, the love of family and friends, and a full table. May the blessings of your faith, whatever that may be, shine upon you this year.

Heather Griffin
President, Board of Directors
Campus Food Bank