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Local businesses continue long-running support of Shelburne food bank

October 15, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By PAULA BROWN

LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER

As the Shepherd’s Cupboard Food Bank in Sheburne prepares to head into their busiest months over the festive period, several local businesses are stepping up to ensure the shelves at the local facility are stocked full of food. 

Local farm Besley Country Market and Giant Tiger owner Andrew Lewis both presented Shelburne’s local food bank with donations last week heading into the Thanksgiving long weekend. 

“These are tough times. It’s so much more important to help out during these tough times, especially for families that are having a tough time through COVID-19,” said Lewis at the cheque presentation last Friday. 

Besley Country Market, located at the corner of Victoria St and 30 Side Rd. in Shelburne, each year grows a patch of sunflowers beside their produce stand. Evan Besley, the fourth generation to operate the farm, said that the patch of flowers helps draw attention to their business. 

With pictures of sunflowers a trending fad, Besley Country Market decided to use their patch to raise donations for the local food bank by offering photo opportunities to local residents. With the middle of the patch mowed out, customers were able to walk through and take pictures. Besley Country Market was able to raise $800 with the photo ops, donating a total of $1,000 to Shepherds Cupboard, which was also presented last Thursday (Oct. 8).

“Everybody loves sunflowers and wants to take pictures so we decided we might as well take advantage of this and try and do some good,” said Besley. “It was a very positive response.” 

Giant Tiger has had an official donation program for around five years, selling bags of food to customers for $5. Andrew Lewis, owner of the local Giant Tiger said that they usually sell approximately 500 to 600 bags of food each year. A total of $3,200 was raised and donated. 

“What that does is it provides us with some gift cards to give to the food bank so they can purchase their supplies when they need,” said Lewis. 

Much like other food banks across Ontario, Shepherd’s Cupboard has seen an influx in both clients and donations since COVID-19. 

“What we saw was a rise in our new client number, from 30 to 35 percent and also an increase in monetary donations from our very generous community,” said Chair Deb Wagstaff. “We especially noticed an increase in first time donations.” 

While the food bank at the beginning of COVID-19 was “flooded with donations” with the realization of the pandemic’s economic impacts, donations over the summer were less, said Wagstaff. The food bank has also had to find new ways to fundraise with the many restrictions implemented by the provincial government in recent months. 

“Statistics are showing that the ripple effect of COVID-19 is, especially for employment, you’re looking at two to three years of impacts and so we kind of have to prepare for the long haul,” said Wagstaff. “We are still doing our best to fundraise because we know it’s not just going to be ‘everyone goes back to work, everything’s ok again’.” 

Through the month of October, the food bank has seen a number of donations from businesses throughout the Shelburne community. 

“We are so grateful for the businesses in Shelburne and the community of Shelburne has been super generous,” said Wagstaff.



         

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