The Newmarket Food Pantry now has the capacity to stock in much more fresh produce, dairy, and meat, thanks to a $40,000 grant it received from Food Banks Canada and the Walmart Foundation to install a walk-in fridge and freezer.
“Our goal now is to raise more money so we can purchase healthier food options for our clients,” food pantry executive director Judy Poulin said at last night’s ribbon-cutting event.
The two new industrial-size appliances feature plenty of space to store the fresh fruits and vegetables donated every Saturday by Farmers Market vendors, as well as frozen products such as meat roasts, French fries, chicken fingers and fish sticks.
More people are increasingly finding themselves in need, Poulin said.
“We have clients who are working two and three jobs trying to make ends meet, but with high rents, there’s not a lot left over for food,” she said.
The food pantry provides about 1,100 clients each month with an emergency three-day supply of food, once per month. The items available include fresh produce, canned and non-perishables, baby needs, pet food, and toiletries. It will soon offer an assortment of frozen food items, as well.
Donations of food items as well as monetary gifts are always welcome.
Last night’s event was well-attended by food pantry volunteers, local politicians, community members, and representatives from the corporate funding program.
The event was dedicated to the late Jim Nesbitt, a 40-year volunteer, treasurer and board member who was described as “a visionary and always had the next thing planned ahead”, said longtime friend and fellow decades-long volunteer Keith Profit.
“Jim and I used to go to Cobs bakery at 7 p.m. every evening to pick up all the food that was left over. We did that until Jim was no longer able to do it,” Profit said, noting that Nesbitt passed about one year ago.
To volunteer, donate or learn more about Newmarket Food Pantry, visit here