Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:49

Hutterite colonies continue long-time support for Swift Current food bank

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Hutterite colonies in southwest Saskatchewan helped to provide some Christmas cheer to needy families by providing a variety of fresh produce to the Salvation Army food bank in Swift Current.

The 16th annual Hutterian Salvation Army food bank donation drive concluded last week with a formal presentation to the Hutterian Brethren on Dec. 11 to acknowledge the contribution of the colonies and to present them with their annual plaques.
“Your communities have been supporting the food bank for a long time now,” Salvation Army Captain Michael Ramsay said. “Over the years, when we’re looking at it, you’ve provided thousands of pounds of vegetables, turkeys, cookies, pastries and so much more to those in need in our community.”
He noted the Salvation Army in Swift Current has recorded well over 100 different times during the past year when Hutterite communities have donated to the food bank.
“This really goes a long way to helping those in need in our community,” he said. “So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you very much.”
Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer expressed appreciation on behalf of the City and the community towards the Salvation Army, the Hutterite colonies as well as the business partners that coordinate the food drive.
“I’m just here to say on behalf of everyone in Swift Current thanks so much for what you do to recognize our community and to make such an important contribution this time of the year so that everyone can have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy friends and family and good food,” he said.
He added the Salvation Army is doing important work in the community at a time when most people are slowing down to enjoy time with friends and family.
“That’s when they get busy, and that’s so important to our community because they’re helping to lead the charge in taking care of people that need some help this time of the year,” he said.
The Hutterian food bank donation drive is a joint effort between the co-operating Hutterite colonies and Swift Current businesses JayDee AgTech, Pioneer Co-op Agro, Bank of Nova Scotia and Meyers Norris Penny. Representatives from these businesses were also at the presentation.
JayDee AgTech Regional Sales Manager Arthur Ward said the company is excited to work with the Hutterian Brethen.
“A lot of them we do business with and it’s exciting to partner with them because what they do for the community is really amazing,” he mentioned.
According to Ward, the colonies are always eager to participate in the food bank donation drive and they are responding to a growing need in the community.
“It seems like the need is growing and as the need grows, we see the generosity grows from the colonies and from the partner businesses,” he said.
In addition to co-ordinating the annual donations from the colonies, the businesses support the Salvation Army through cash donations and staff from these businesses help out with the distribution of hampers in the week before Christmas.
Ramsay said around 20 Hutterite colonies participated in the food bank donation drive and their contributions will make a real difference to the recipients of Christmas food hampers.
“It means that families in need can still have the fresh produce, the fresh vegetables and healthy food,” he explained. “In this day and age where it’s becoming obvious how important healthy food and fresh produce is, to be able to continue to provide that directly through the help of the Hutterite communities is such a blessing.”
The recognition event included testimonials from people who have been helped out through the food bank ministry. The stories of two people were read out and EZ Velasco was present to speak about how the Salvation Army supported him through some challenging times.
“I wish I could find the words to say how much I appreciate and how thankful I am for having the Salvation Army next to me,” he said. “You guys provided me with a lot of help, but most of all, you guys certainly gave me something that is very important for a man like myself, which is hope.”
Velasco grew up in Mexico, but as a teenager he ran away from home and went to Los Angeles. He eventually returned to Mexico and then came to Canada on a work contract. He has been a Swift Current resident for four years.
“I asked God to give me a second chance for me and for my kids,” he said. “Apparently, my prayers were heard and here I am, taking my best shot.”

Read 13927 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:58