Over the past week, the North Bay Food Bank has received over 10,000 pounds of food through various community fundraisers.
“It’s phenomenal,” commends Debbie Marson, executive director of the food bank. “The way this community works, they never let up when they know something has to happen.”
Last weekend, the food bank held a drive-by Santa experience as a thank-you to the community. Families could drive up to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with an opportunity to donate to the food bank.
Over 8,000 pounds of food was donated during the three-hour event, which Marson says was a great success for everyone who took part.
“I know one family drove by three times. I want to say it was because they kept switching where the kids were sitting in their car,” Marson recalled. “You could see the excitement in the children’s eyes when they got up to the jolly old man.”
On Tuesday, members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 22 Wing set up a drive-through donation area near their base, collecting food and money for the food bank. Over 3,300 pounds of food was donated through that event.
Marson says other area schools have also been making donations of over a thousand pounds each.
“We’re grateful to North Bay to be able to be the Santa Claus’s of the food,” she said.
With the holidays approaching, Marson says client numbers are “starting to creep up again”, citing the end of CERB and other financial programs as reasons behind the increase.
“There is a lot more month for our people than money. It’s very evident there’s an unfair balance in that regard and we try to help them the best we can by taking that pressure off them when it comes to food for their families,” Marson said.
Marson remains confident that the North Bay Food Bank will be able to keep up with any surges in demand, due in part to the generosity of the community.
“North Bay knows what we need and knows what we do. We’re here if you need,” she said. “Anything helps and all of it helps.”