The big wicker basket near the baptismal font is seldom empty. People arriving for worship each Sunday drop off a box of cereal, canned soup, toothpaste, pasta sauce, tea and more.
“It’s a small but quiet ministry at the cathedral,” says Doug Milander from the Outreach Committee. “We provide the basket to make it easy for people to help the hungry. We deliver a few bags of donations every week to the Greener Village Community Food Centre.”
Better known locally as the food bank, Greener Village currently serves more than 1,100 families monthly. Incredibly, 39 per cent of the clients are children.
“From September until June, they particularly need items for school lunches and other little snacks for children,” Doug said. “Examples include puddings, fruit cups, peanut-free granola bars, raisin boxes and juice boxes.”
Registrants receive a food box once a month. The box contains enough food for three to five days – not the entire month.
“Food is a basic human right, but inflation and the low Canadian dollar are taking a toll on our purchasing power,” Doug said. “It’s depressing to think of people struggling and going hungry. The Outreach Committee is pleased that the congregation responds to the need by filling the food bank basket. We appreciate the support.”
It’s depressing to think of people struggling and going hungry … Doug Milander
Greener Village accepts all kinds of non-perishable items, but it does ask that nothing be dented, opened, expired or unlabelled.
The items in highest demand are pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and condiments such as ketchup, mustard and salad dressings.
Other ideas include gluten-free products, powdered milk, canned beans, infant cereal, canned fruit, Mr. Noodles, dish detergent, shampoo, cooking oil and many more items to be found on a wish list at http://www.greenervillage.org/food-bank/current-wish-list
“Many people tell us that it’s hard to remember to bring a bag of groceries to church on Sunday, so there is also an option to donate money through your offering envelope,” Doug added. “Greener Village does bulk buying with financial donations, which means they can sometimes add meat, frozen food or fresh milk to the food boxes.”
One last item, which probably everyone can easily contribute to the wicker basket, is clean plastic bags. Greener Village needs thousands of these grocery bags when packing food boxes.
Read: New Brunswick food bank use exceeds national averages CBC November 2015