Working and volunteering at Regeneration Marketplace Food Bank is very rewarding to me in many ways. Our team works together to help our community with the basic needs that they have supplying food, personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies. Accepting donations from individuals and corporate supporters creates a special bond and friendships of people with a shared value of helping others.
Especially rewarding is working with the youth of today and watching their reactions as they assist our guests with all of their needs. When our students are engaged with our guests one on one, it is special to see them take control of the situation and satisfy the guests’ needs.
Whether students or adult volunteers, all feel the gift of giving and what comes with it. Please consider volunteering as the need has never been greater and I am sure you will find it as rewarding as I do.
Recently, I read a Facebook post by a friend in the US that talked about what the needs were at a food bank in an effort to make it easier for people to donate.
Realizing the needs of the Marketplace I decided to update the post and make it relevant to the guests that we serve at Regeneration. Many in our community are in need and many of them are children. Over the past two years, the need has increased dramatically. More than ever, we need your support.
Here is a list of items (in no particular order) that are high on our list of needs:
1. Kraft Dinner is a very popular item at the Marketplace. At least 1/3 to 1/2 of food bank recipients are children that eat Mac & Cheese regularly. If you’ve camped before, you know that Butter and Milk are not necessary to make Mac & Cheese. A little bit of oil will sub for the butter and a bit of water in lieu of the milk.
2. Milk – Powdered milk, boxed milk, milk cartons or even condensed milk are all great and popular items asked for at food banks.
3. Pasta and sauce are also very popular with food bank guests.
4. Canned foods all work well. The amount of time items (Best Before Dates) are good for are almost always longer in items in cans rather than other packaging. The most popular canned items at our food bank are:
B. Beans (All types)
E. Pasta sauce
F. Tomato products
H. Canned meats – Tuna, Salmon, Chicken & Fish
5. Cooking Oil is an essential item and always needed.
6. Spices are a luxury, especially salt and pepper.
7. Tea bags and instant coffee are always needed.
8. Sugar and flour are high need items.
9. Fresh produce is rare at the food bank and always needed.
10. Fresh or frozen meats of all types are a gift. We also get multiple requests for plant based protein items for vegans, and vegetarians. Halal and Kosher also help fill the need.
11. Crackers are great for snacks and as an addition to soups.
12. Peanut butter and jelly is an item we are always in need of.
13. Butter and margarine is a necessity.
14. Eggs are also high on the request list.
15. Cake mix and frosting can help a family celebrate a special occasion or provide for a special dessert.
16. Cookies, chips, and snacks in general are important to our guests.
17. Personal hygiene items are a must and always seem to be in short supply.
F. Sanitary pads
G. Adult diapers
18. Cleaning supplies also help. From sanitizers to floor soap, all are needed.
19. Baby products are a huge need. These include:
A. Diapers in all sizes
B. Baby wipes
C. Pull Ups
D. Formula Stage (1 & 2)
E. Baby food
In my time here at Regeneration Marketplace Food Bank, we’ve gone from serving 100 families a week when the pandemic started to just under 500 families a week presently. The need keeps growing and there is never enough to get everyone what they want. We count on donations for the bulk of our needs as grants are few and far between at this time. Peak donation times are the three big holiday times of the year. These are April / May, October & December. It is important to note that people are not just hungry these times of the year, but all year long. This means we need donations all year long so we can meet that need.
I hope you will keep the less fortunate in our community in mind the next time you are doing your shopping and consider chipping in to help with a donation. Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season.
Pictured in this photo are students of Miss D’Mello’s class from Judith Nyman Secondary School
K.C., Miss Bouwhuis, Iyaney, Beatrix, Div, Katie, Sherman, Myrene, Sean, Erica, Dittie, Joel (me) and Miss D’Mello.