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Volunteers help make Gleaners Food Bank food drive wild success

By Martin Allen [1]and Sean Cann-Sheppard  [2]

BELLEVILLE – Last year’s food drive collected 10 pallets of food. This year, 23 pallets – and counting.

On Oct. 16, over 300 volunteers took to the streets of Belleville to canvas for food.

Susanne Quinlan, director of operations for Gleaners Food Bank [3], says food is still coming in.

“This skid wasn’t here on Sunday,” she says, pointing to a half-empty pallet of Kraft Dinner. “This would be skid number 23.”

The half-empty skid doesn’t quite fit in. It’s surrounded by pallets of pasta, soup and cereal boxes stacked as high as four feet. Volunteers are busy sorting the haul. Quinlan attributes the success to their hard work.

Gleaners food bank.

Gleaners food bank. Photo by Martin Allen, QNet News.

“Some of the volunteers were as young as six years of age,” she says. “Walking around in the pouring rain they persevered and went door to door. Kudos to everyone who was part of that.”

Once the food is collected, it’s placed onto skids. The skids are stacked according to weight. Each skid, depending on what’s on them, weighs between 500 and 800 kilograms.

The significance of the food drive is not lost on members of the community who use the services. Dan Moriarty, 26, is a Loyalist graduate. He’s currently working as an entertainer in Belleville, making YouTube videos.

“Anything that helps out the people who need it, whether they’re students or low-income families or just in desperate need, these things are valuable resources to the community,” he said.

He said he started using the food bank three years ago when he came to the realization that, “College students have very little money.”

“There are people out there worse off than me,” he said. “When I need food it’s just to bolster what I have. But there are people who depend on this sort of stuff to eat for a whole month.”

“The more resources we have to feed those people, the better.”

Quinlan says the donations from the food drive will last for about six months. She says they’re always taking donations, but they have more than enough cereal.

Gleaners volunteers 2

Volunteers work hard sorting the collected items. Photo by Martin Allen, QNet News.