Annual Christmas food drive reaches 16,000 donations

Hungry families across midtown will be having a merrier Christmas this season thanks to generous Leaside and Moore Park residents.

Volunteers for the 45th annual Ecumenical Christmas Food Drive, held on Nov. 26 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Clifton Road and St. Cuthbert’s Church on Bayview Avenue, collected 16,000 non-perishable items this year, campaign chair Brian Kearney told the Town Crier.

“The need for help is greater than ever, especially with all of these Syrian refugees in Thorncliffe Park,” he said. “We received good items — lots of big bags of rice, and money as well. Obviously people put in some thought.”

While the 16,000-item total was a bit lower than collected in last year’s drive, Kearney said it’s still a good amount, noting last year residents donated about 20 per cent more food than usual.

Volunteers were still counting the money donated, which he estimates should be comparable to last year’s total of $3,000.

At least 200 volunteers contributed to the drive, including multiple families and Ward 27 councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.

“It’s a zoo,” he said. “But it’s lots of fun too. And a great family event — the young kids can see that there is a need.”

Readers still interested in donating to the drive can do so at either of the Sobeys grocery stores at 81 St. Clair Ave. E. or 147 Laird Dr. until January.

“Food banks have problems over the Christmas season, because the Daily Bread Food Bank is not available to them,” Kearney said. “By going right through Christmas and into the new year, the drive helps carry them right until springtime.”