Aylmer Food Centre prepares for the 16th annual Christmas Share Store
With the holidays fast approaching, the Aylmer Food Centre (CAA) is preparing for one of their major annual projects, the 16th annual Christmas share store. Volunteers and employees are gathering food donations and preparing Christmas packages for families in the community. The distribution of the packages will take place from December 14 to December 16.
The packages include a full grocery cart's worth of food, at 5-10% of the retail price, as well as a gift for each of the children in the family that is specific to their age and interests. Each package is worth approximately $400, said Gérard Émond, General Manager of CAA, noting that the event serves around 175 families in the community. Émond highlights the increased need that families face, as grocery prices have risen significantly in the past few years.
Adaptations are made to the event in order to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. In a regular year, families and individuals needing a package would present themselves to the Aylmer Food Centre and pick out their items. However, like last year, a list of items will be presented to the families for them to select what they need and the CAA will arrange a time to deliver their package.
“The preparation starts in mid-September and takes a lot of planning, work and volunteers, but it is very rewarding as we know it makes a difference for many families in the community. We are able to make the Christmas Share Store happen thanks to the extraordinary generosity of citizens, volunteers, and the donations from local businesses. Without them, the CAA would not exist,” said Émond.
Last year, in 2020, the event helped 219 households, 561 people, which included 224 children. There were 69 volunteers that helped prepare for the event, which represents 1,367.5 hours of volunteer work.
The CAA distributed 172,175 kilos of food in the past year, which is worth approximately $946,962. The organization has a mission to reduce poverty by welcoming individuals and families facing poverty into the community, offering food aid services, offering psychological aid and developing a sense of belonging to the best of their professional and financial capacity.
The CAA helped 591 families this past year and continues to work hard to serve the community. The organization depends on help and donations, all residents are encouraged to support in any way they can during this holiday season.