Greater Napanee dug deep into its pockets during Walmart’s Fight Hunger, Spark Change event this spring, donating more than $10,000 to the Napanee Salvation Army.
In recognition of the community’s generosity, Walmart’s corporate division topped up the donation to $14,280. For the local food bank, those funds come at a critical time.
“For us it’s not only that food is getting more expensive but our family is growing every week because we have more people accessing our services for the first time, every week,” said Abby Mills, director of community ministries for the Napanee Salvation Army. “Or they have not needed our services for years and suddenly they find they can no longer make ends meet.”
An example of the rising demand for their services, in May they helped 32 families and by mid June that number had jumped to 49.
There are specific parameters for how the funds can be allocated with 50 per cent of it going towards fresh or frozen foods to distribute to families in need.
“This is such a great support for us right now as demand is growing and prices are increasing,” said Mills. “One of the really super things about it is that it’s specified how we can spend it so we are going to be spending half of the funds to gift people fresh food. That would include fresh, on the shelf produce. Also frozen produce, frozen meat. Anything that’s not a shelf stable product would be included in that so there’s more options for us to be able to buy dairy products, eggs, things that would not necessarily be our normal food bank buy so it offers better nutrition to the people who access our services.”
Typically the food bank is limited to non-perishable foods, which do last longer but don’t provide the same nutrition.
Donations for the Fight Hunger, Spark Change program were raised at point of sale terminals at the Napanee Walmart in February and March of this year.
Mills says Walmart has long been a great partner by donation to the food bank as part of their food reclamation program, which sees food nearing its expiration date gifted to the food bank.
“They enable us to do so much more,” Mills said of the latest donation. “This is kind of just the icing on the cake.”
As inflation continues to rise, the need for donations will only increase. To donate to the local Salvation Army visit https://salvationarmy.ca/donation-map/#info.