[Drive Buy]Food drive helps restock food bank’s shelves; Estevan beats Weyburn in donation competition

  The Estevan Salvation Army’s effort to have a food drive of its own proved to be a success, and it helped replenish the shelves of the food bank.

  The Drive, Buy and Drop By Food Drive on Saturday brought in more than 700 pounds locally, said Ronza Reynard, who is the director of ministry for the Salvation Army in Estevan and Weyburn. Coupled with other initiatives that happened during the week, the Salvation Army received approximately 1,000 pounds, or about half a tonne, of food. The ministry also received about $100 in cash donations.

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  “We had no idea what to expect,” Reynard told the Mercury. “It was one of the first times that we’ve done it this way where we weren’t working with another group or an event happening in town.”

  Four or five volunteers helped to weigh the food, sort it and restock the shelves.

  Supporters were encouraged to purchase items for the food bank at a grocery store and then deliver it to the food bank. Thirty-five vehicles stopped by the food bank Saturday during the four hours of the initiative.

  “A lot of people are really paying attention to the (expiration) dates of products. We had very little stuff that we had to dispose of because it was outdated. So, we just love it that people are paying attention to that, and realizing that the food bank can only use things that are not expired yet.”

  Shelves at the food bank are now at about 80 per cent capacity, which will help the Salvation Army at the start of the summer, when the donations typically slow down but the need from the community does not.

  The Salvation Army could always use more coffee and condiments. The latter are in particular need in the summer months because people are barbecuing. Other foods that are quick and easy to prepare, such as canned goods, Mr. Noodle and Kraft Dinner, are important to have at the food bank in the summer as well.

  There was also a friendly competitive element for the food drive between Estevan and Weyburn, who also had a food drive that day. Estevan collected more food on Saturday, so now the Weyburn staff will have to wear Estevan Salvation Army apparel during a work day.

  Weyburn likely collected more food during the week than Estevan, said Reynard, but the wager was to see who could collect the most food the day of the drive.

  “At the end of the day, the food banks win. We’ve got some extra stuff in the food bank. Shelves are a little fuller, and this will definitely help us going into the summer months.”

  If the Salvation Army continues to have a food drive on its own, that will be great, she said, but they love to partner with different organizations that have done big food drives in the past. As the restrictions for COVID-19 continue to be lifted, the Salvation Army hopes to partner with people and businesses once again.