Giving this Christmas season

December 7, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Christmas is one of the busiest, most celebrated times of the year, when friends and families come together. And for the town’s grocery stores, it’s about the community coming together, helping the less fortunate.

For most of us, grocery stores are a place to buy food, and at Christmas, a lot of it, from turkeys and hams, to sweets such as candy canes and chocolates. But for others, Christmas is a difficult time, and being able to go into those grocery stores and buy those turkeys and sweets can be difficult, and at times not an option.

Orangeville’s supermarkets – FreshCo, Metro, No Frills, Sobeys and Zehrs – donate to and support various community groups and the Orangeville Food Bank, giving back to provide food for those in need.

Ryan Stephens, FreshCo’s store owner, spoke to the Citizen about donations, saying they have partnered and continuously donated to the food bank since they opened in town, a little over six years ago.

He says around this time, they help out the food bank with their turkey’s, and this year, are doing a new initiative, by donating to a local family. “What we’ll do is it will be a gift card and (the family) will come in and get what they want for their Christmas.”

Mr. Stephens says they also help the food bank out by donating food bank bags, “which do pretty well,” while donating some of the food bank’s most wanted items.

“We have a five-dollar, seven-dollar, and 10-dollar bag, and customers can buy that and they usually donate it into the bin.”

He says he sees an increase of donations “every holiday,” and it has always been great to help those in need.

“Every little bit helps. Especially around the holidays, when people do have less money to use, it’s good to help people that are struggling, especially when you’re in a position to do so.”

Jim McDowell, Metro’s store manager, says some of the groups they donate to are the United Way, the food bank, Orangeville Legion, Lions Club, and Knights of Columbus, with both food and money. “We try to spread it out as much as we can.”

He says that although he’s only been at the store for three years, they have been doing it longer. “We always make sure we’re a big part of giving back to the community. That’s something that’s important.”

Mr. McDowell says, “we see quite a few people coming in with different items,” around this time, and hopefully these donations can set Orangeville “apart from other communities”

He says that although the food drives, charities and support are important; they are only as strong and important as the people themselves. “The people are the ones that really make the community, and making sure they’re going to be taking care of all those people who need assistance.”

Derek Leduc, the Sobeys store owner, says they continuously run several food bank drives, especially during this time, and support several other community groups, including the Orangeville Legion, the Salvation Army with their kettle campaign, and the Knights of Columbus.

He says the store has always helped out during the 18 years he’s been working there.

Mr. Leduc says a lot of the food donated is non-perishable, “so most of the time it’s canned goods, crackers, cookies, pasta sauce, any of the canned goods.”

He added that they accept money and bring it to the food bank, so they can choose some of their more needed items. “Anytime, we ask our customers to donate a food bank bag, if they don’t want to buy a food bank bag, they can donate any monetary amount.”

He explained how important it is to give back to the community because he’s a member of it, as he not only works in Orangeville, but also lives in it. “I think that it’s extremely important to help out. When I see my customers here in the store, I know it’s staying local and it’s giving back to the immediate community.”

Matt Dault, one of the Zehrs store managers, told the Citizen they donate to the food bank, and support local charities, the Salvation Army, several church groups and cadets, the Orangeville Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Orangeville, helping them with their kettle drives.

He says they have been supporting and helping those groups continuously in the 10 years he’s been here, and will be doing a toy drive this year.

Mr. Dault says the ability to always donate and see the community come together is great. “We do what we can.”

Asked why it’s important to donate, he says it’s because giving back “is one of the core values of our company, to be not only a business in the community, but a part of the community and giving back.”

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