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Give food and skate for free

By Jody Jakab [1] and Casey Horn [2]

QUINTE WEST – Quinte West [3] is letting anyone skate for free at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Community Gardens [4] and all it asks in return is that you bring a non-perishable food item.

From now until March [5], the city will be providing free skating on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

According to Quinte West, it’s an “opportunity to get active or hone your skating skills,” and give to someone in need.

Samantha Reynolds, who was an avid hockey player before her high school years, says that the event is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to become more active.

“I think because it’s free, and that there’s a lot of opportunity to learn how to skate again. I used to play hockey a long time ago, and I just stopped and bought a pair of skates knowing it was free this year,” Reynolds said.

She also says having it free is an incentive for people to show up who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to go skating.

Samantha Reynolds enjoys a Tuesday afternoon at the free skating event hosted by the City of Quinte West. Photo by, Jody Jakab, QNet News

Samantha Reynolds says the free skate is an incentive for people to get active. Photo by Jody Jakab, QNet News

“I would say probably just to get people out and active, whereas if it’s something you need to pay for, some people can’t afford that. If it’s free they have the opportunity to be more active,” she said.

Tuesday skates have been offered for years. Typically they are are low traffic days, and the weekends have higher traffic.

The purpose of having one hour of free skating, particularly on a Tuesday afternoon, is to accommodate seniors and youngsters who can enjoy skating themselves, without the chaotic amount of people who would otherwise show up on the weekend. Busier days are typically family events.

Jennifer Rushlow, the tourism co-ordinator for Quinte West, said that it’s better for younger kids while others are at school.

“If you have a little one and they’re not in school it’s a good idea for them so they can learn in a quieter environment,” Rushlow said.

About 20 people who turned out this past Tuesday, and the Care and Share Food Bank [6] received some generous donations of non-perishable items, including things like soup and canned vegetables.

The donation box where you can drop off your non-perishable items at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Community Gardens. Photo by, Jody Jakab, QNet News

The donation box where you can drop off your non-perishable items at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Community Gardens. Photo by Jody Jakab, QNet News

Food Banks Canada [7] statistics show that over 850,000 Canadians [8] used a food bank in March [9] this year. This is a 1.3 per cent increase from 2015. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of Canadians who use food banks has increased by 27.8 per cent, the organization says.

In Ontario, 336,000 people a month used a food bank in 2016, according to the report. According to the Ontario Association of Food Banks Hunger Report, 2013 [10], 19,322 Quinte [11] residents used a food bank in 2013.

To donate to your local food bank, go to the Food Banks Canada website, go to the “Food Banking in Canada” tab, and click the link “Find a Food Bank [12],” which is located at the bottom of the page.

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