GORE BAY – Volunteers with a plethora of fresh fruit and vegetables gathered at Charles C. McLean Public School one day last week to box up food to give to local families.
Volunteer Barbara Barfoot explained, “Kristin Bickell, project manager of Local Food Manitoulin and Noojmowin Teg’s Child Poverty Task Force, co-ordinated with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Program in diverting the food usually provided to the schools within the Manitoulin District to our Good Food Box community representative organizations. Cody Leeson, child nutrition co-ordinator for Noojmowin Teg took the lead on this initiative and organizes the weekly Manitoulin Island shipments with the hope and expectation this food would be distributed to households within the Manitoulin community that have children in the home and/or vulnerable populations.”
Each week since the beginning of April, “Massey Wholesale has delivered the fruit and veggies to the United Church in Little Current, where Cody and other staff members of the Health and Wellness Team at Noojmowin Teg unload the truck and allocated the food quantities for each of the 11 island communities,” continued Ms. Barfoot.
Ian McVey picks up the Gore Bay and area allotment of food in Little Current and meets the local co-ordinator and driver, Barb Barfoot, as well as the other drivers, Joel Locke, Vicki Wright and Diane Longmuir, at the school parking lot.
Ms. Barfoot explained that Tracey Chapman, principal of C.C. McLean and her staff contact the school families mid-week to alert them of the food availability date, time and location. Some people are able to pickup at the school, but many are not and weekly deliveries are made throughout Gore Bay, Gordon/Barrie Island, Burpee and Mills, Billings and even Central Manitouln. Residents of Woods Lane, Millsite, Bayside Apartments and the staff at the Manitoulin Lodge have also been gifted with this food. Volunteers with the fresh fruit and veggies will be at the school each week until the end of the current school term.