Rimbey Lions Club’s ‘Fill the Pantry’ food drive exceeds expectations

Rimbey Food Bank gearing up for the Christmas season

The Rimbey Lions Club’s food drive, benefiting the Rimbey Food Bank, received cash donations of $3,590.60, plus $1,000 donated by the Rimbey Lions Club, as well as 362.9 lbs of food. L-R: Rimbey Lions Club members Laverne Oberhammer, Peggy Makofka (FCSS), Ray Durand, Gene Chopiuk, Eileen Poulsen, Gordon Plumb, Howard Steele and president Steffen Olsen, present a cheque to Jamie Costen, centre, for the Rimbey Food Bank. (Photo submitted)

The Rimbey Lions Club’s food drive, benefiting the Rimbey Food Bank, received cash donations of $3,590.60, plus $1,000 donated by the Rimbey Lions Club, as well as 362.9 lbs of food. L-R: Rimbey Lions Club members Laverne Oberhammer, Peggy Makofka (FCSS), Ray Durand, Gene Chopiuk, Eileen Poulsen, Gordon Plumb, Howard Steele and president Steffen Olsen, present a cheque to Jamie Costen, centre, for the Rimbey Food Bank. (Photo submitted)

The Rimbey Lions Club’s ‘Fill the Pantry’ food drive Oct. 8 and 9 brought in a good haul, thanks to the generosity of Rimbey residents.

“We had an excellent response from the community,” said Eileen Poulsen, a director with the Rimbey Lions Club.

A sum of $3,590.60 in cash was donated from community members, along with 362.9 lbs of food.

The Rimbey Lions had pledged to match cash donations up to $1,000.

“We exceeded that by a lot,” said Poulsen.

With the $1,000 added to the pot, the cash total came to $,4, 590.60. The food and cash was then presented to the Rimbey Food Bank.

The Lions were set up with their trailer at the Evergreen Co-op parking lot over the two days.

“We put a cash jar out and people just kept stuffing it,” said Poulsen.

“It was wonderful.”

This is the second consecutive year the Lions club has held a fall food drive.

“Last year, we thought there was a need for back to school with families having a hard time, and we held a drive at the end of August,” said Poulsen.

This year, the Lions Club was busy and wound up holding the drive over Thanksgiving weekend.

“There’s more and more need,” she said.

“We serve the community — that’s our aim.”

The Rimbey Lions Club also recently made a large donation to the Rimbey library.

“We just like to support the community as much as possible.”

Jamie Costen, community program coordinator with Rimbey Family and Community Support Services, oversees the overall operations of the Rimbey Food Bank.

Costen says the food bank loves working with the Rimbey Lions Club.

“They’re generous, wonderful people,” she said, adding their volunteers sit for hours over the two days for the drive and then help load all the donations as well.

“They are great people in our community.”

With the last few weeks being focused on getting hampers ready for Thanksgiving, shelves at the food bank are now in need of replenishing in order to prepare for the Christmas holiday season.

The community Christmas hamper program is also run through the food bank, and after Remembrance Day, donation bins placed around town will take donations of toys, and hats and mitts as well as food items for Christmas hampers.

“The donation (from the Rimbey Lions Club) will really go far in starting to get ready for the Christmas hampers,” said Costen.

She added that prices of groceries are starting to rise and they’re “feeling the crunch,” somewhat.

Costen says while they love getting donations of food items, cash donations are also really appreciated, as it gives them some buying power and local stores give them deals on their purchases for the food bank.

According to Rimbey Food Bank floor coordinator Roseann Glennon, the food bank is in need of all staple food items, but could particularly use donations of canned vegetables, meats, chili and pork and beans as well as items for children’s lunches such as juice boxes or tetra packs, pudding, and fruit cups.

Other needed items include breakfast cereals, pasta, pasta sauces, Hamburger Helper and toiletries.