Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:13

Hutterite colonies contribute towards food bank in Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Vehicles from more than 20 Hutterite colonies in southwest Saskatchewan have been off-loading fresh produce at the Salvation Army food bank in Swift Current this week to help bring some Christmas cheer to needy families.

This has been the 15th annual Hutterian food bank donation to the Salvation Army in Swift Current. Their contribution was acknowledged during a formal presentation at the Salvation Army Dec. 11, where the colonies were presented with their annual plaques.
“We’re so thankful for all the help that the colonies have given us, it’s absolutely amazing,” Capt. Michael Ramsay said.
He provided an overview of the Salvation Army activities in Swift Current, which also highlighted the need for such contributions towards the food bank.
“Over the years you provided thousands of pounds of vegetables, turkeys, cookies, pastries and so much more,” he told the Hutterian Brethen. “This year alone the Hutterite communities came in to donate to our food bank on 121 separate occasions.”
Ramsay, who will celebrate his fourth Christmas with the Salvation Army in Swift Current, noted Saskatchewan's economy is strong and the local economy is also doing well, but the need is still growing.
“In the time, that I’ve been here the need throughout the year and at Christmas time as well has gone up by 10 per cent every year and this year is no different,” he said.
Last year, the Swift Current Salvation Army provided more than 200 families in need with Christmas hampers and served a meal to between 100 and 200 people on Christmas day.
“This year, we’ve already got 225 families in need registered for Christmas hampers,” he said.
Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer attended the presentation to extend his appreciation on behalf of the City and the community towards the Hutterite colonies.
“This time, more than ever, is a time when it’s important to reach out to our fellow men and lend a helping hand,” he said.
The Hutterian food donation is a joint effort between the co-operating Hutterite colonies and Swift Current businesses JayDee AgTech, Pioneer Co-op Agro, Scotiabank and Meyers Norris Penny. Representatives from these four businesses were also at the presentation.
JayDee AgTech Regional Sales Manager Arthur Ward said the initiative has been growing since it started 15 years ago.
“Every year there’s been more and more of the colonies that have participated,” he mentioned. “The demand is getting larger and larger every year, so it’s a great program that we’re proud of and we’ll be involved in as long as it’s going.”
In addition to co-ordinating the annual donations from the colonies, staff from the participating businesses help out with the distribution of hampers in the week before Christmas.
Ward said about half a dozen employees from the JayDee AgTech dealership and staff from the other partner businesses will help to assemble the hampers and to hand out hampers to people.
“During different parts of the day we’ll deliver some of the hampers if folks are unable to come in, then we’ll deliver the hampers to their homes as well,” he added.
This is the first Christmas that the Salvation Army is using a walk-in cooler to store fresh produce donated to the food bank.
“It makes a great difference,” Ramsay said. “It means we can keep the food a lot longer when it’s donated. We can make sure it can go towards the families in need and we can provide even more people with some of this wonderful fresh produce that’s being donated today and throughout the Christmas season.”

Read 19783 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:31