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Jingle Bell Blitz food drive returns for 13th year in support of Newmarket Food Pantry

Over the past 12 years, Valley View Alliance Church has donated a total of 45,000 pounds of food to the Newmarket Food Pantry
2021 11 12 jingle bell blitz
Mayor John Taylor and other members of council at the Jingle Bell Blitz in 2020.

Valley View Alliance Church is holding its 13th annual Jingle Bell Blitz food drive this month in an effort to fill the Newmarket Food Pantry in just one morning. 

“We’re trying to bring in one month of the food pantry’s needs,” said Garry James, the pastor at the church. 

On Saturday, Nov. 27 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., members from the church will be stationed outside Dickie’s No Frills on Leslie Street in Newmarket to collect food donations for the pantry. 

They hand out paper bags with a list of items that are needed to shoppers on the way into the store. 

“People just come in to do their shopping, they pick up a few extra items that are on the list and they hand them to us on the way out,” James said.  

In the past they have had a barbeque set up to make fresh breakfast sandwiches, which they gave to those who donated but they’ve had to pivot to handing out Tim Hortons gift cards instead.  

By bringing the food drive right to the grocery store, James said they are making it easy for residents to take part. 

“We make it as easy as it can possibly be for the people of Newmarket to be generous and they always step up in spades,” He said. “It’s just really encouraging. We love it. Newmarket’s a generous town.” 

Even during the pandemic, he said the church was able to contribute 3,434 pounds of food to the Newmarket Food Pantry in 2020, bringing their 12 year total to more than 45,000 pounds. 

James said that some people donate just an item or two while others will come out with an entire cart full of things and he is grateful for everyone who helps out. 

As a church he said it is natural for them to help those in need. 

“It’s kind of in the DNA of our people that we serve the marginalized of our community,” James said. 

The Jingle Bell Blitz is a true community effort as Dickie’s No Frills and the Tim Hortons that shares a parking lot with them have been partners since the very beginning. 

Every year local business Fresh Water Industries also lends them a van to use to sort and transport all the donated goods. 

They will all be taking part again this year, with volunteers outside the store playing Christmas music to get shoppers in the holiday spirit and inspire a spirit of giving.


 


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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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