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Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Council launches initiative to help fill empty food bank shelves

Pedvac in Port Elgin has recently launched an initiative to raise $5,000 to help fill its empty food bank shelves. Shown here, Pedvac executive assistant Anne Goodwin, at left, and executive director Val MacDermid show some of the empty shelves in the food bank.
Pedvac in Port Elgin has recently launched an initiative to raise $5,000 to help fill its empty food bank shelves. Shown here, Pedvac executive assistant Anne Goodwin, at left, and executive director Val MacDermid show some of the empty shelves in the food bank. - Contributed

Board announces fundraising goal of $5,000

PORT ELGIN, N.B. – With the holidays over the Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Council (Pedvac) is once again looking for ways to fill its almost empty food bank shelves.

“We are looking to fill the food bank shelves because this time of the year…Christmas is over and everyone has been very generous leading up to Christmas, but after all that holiday excitement, many people forget that food banks are continuing to assist those in need throughout the year. This is the most difficult time of the year for many of our clients; you can’t have a garden at this time of year so there’s no food there, and heating costs are up. And anyone who’s gone to the grocery store lately knows that food costs right now are horrendous. I went shopping myself last weekend and I couldn’t believe the prices, particularly for fresh fruits and vegetables,” Pedvac’s executive director, Val MacDermid, said last week.

MacDermid noted that, just like everyone else, Pedvac’s costs are up due to increased heating bills and food costs, which cuts into the organization’s ability to stock the food bank shelves.

“Even though we bulk-purchase food, the overall cost is continually rising, which reduces our spending power, giving us less food for what we’re paying out,” she said.

MacDermid explained that the Pedvac board has launched a fund-raising campaign with the goal of raising $5,000 in six weeks.

“We’re working with a small team of people to meet this goal in just a short period of time. This is a critical time of year and there are many people who are finding it hard to heat their homes and feed themselves and their families too, so we’re hoping the public will step up – like they often do in this area, and help put food on the food bank shelves,” she said.

Just a week or so into the campaign, donations are already coming in, she said. She stressed that every dollar will go toward the purchase of food and that whether donations are large or small, they are all greatly appreciated and will help to ensure that hungry bellies will be fed.

“We encourage everyone, families, individuals, businesses and other organizations alike, to give what they can to help out. Of course we always take donations of good food as well."

– Val MacDermid

MacDermid noted that donations of healthy foods such as peanut butter, canned beans and milk, frozen and canned fruit and vegetables as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbage, are all gratefully accepted at the food bank.

And while $5000 is the goal, she added the organization would be thrilled to top that number.

“Food is always needed. It would be amazing to have food on hand when it’s really needed and right now it really is needed, by many,” she said.

Those wishing to donate to the Pedvac food bank can send or drop off a donation to the Pedvac Foundation, 12 Church Street, Port Elgin, NB, E4M 2C9 or by sending an e-transfer to pedvacfoundation@nb.aibn.com. For more information contact Pedvac at 506-538-7638 or check out their website at www.pedvac.com. Official tax receipts are issued for all donations of $10 and over.

Over the past 30 years Pedvac has grown from one room of used clothing in the former St. Clement’s School building, into a well-respected registered charity that is used as a model around New Brunswick. In addition to the food bank, Pedvac offers a school lunch program for the children of food bank clients, a used clothing store, Christmas boxes, a teaching garden with a large greenhouse, a teaching kitchen, many children’s programs, free income tax preparation, assistance for individuals having difficulties with government programs, special classes and workshops for mental wellness and other topics and other programs as needed. Pedvac is a registered charity and boasts an army of supporters, but given the increasing needs within the greater community, the organization still regularly struggles to meet some needs. The organization has received many awards for its work within the greater community, including: the Milton F. Gregg Conservation Award, the First New Brunswick Family Award, Robert Hall Community Activism Award, the United Way 2013 Agent of Change Award, the 2017 ECO364 Environmental Award and is a recipient of a 2017 Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Medal.

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