RELEASE: National and Local Businesses Come Forward to Help Port Cares Help Others
(May 12, 2021 - PORT COLBORNE) More than a year into the pandemic Port Cares’ Reach Out Centre food bank is assisting more people than ever before thanks to the help of local and national donors.
“The number of people coming to our Reach Out Centre has skyrocketed by 30 per cent since the pandemic started over a year ago. Right now, we are providing food to 1,700 local low-income residents of which more than 600 are children. Our meal program registrants have grown from 387 in February 2020 to 704 today,” explains Christine Clark Lafleur, Executive Director, Port Cares. “Everyone who receives food bank or meal program assistance is income-verified to prove that they are of need and we are seeing more working families struggling to make ends meet and people who haven’t had to come to us for help in years.”
Port Cares relies on donations and fundraising to run its Reach Out Centre including the food bank and meal program along with an array of other support services and programs. “We were overwhelmed with generosity and support when the pandemic first started and those donations have carried us through last year into this year. With the increasing need for our services showing no signs of slowing down, we are extremely grateful for the donations that continue to be made.”
This week national retailer Leon’s Furniture Limited has made a $10,000 donation and local Swiss Chalet & Harvey’s owner/operator Lisa St. Amand donated $3,500 to Port Cares, which the agency will use to keep its food bank, meal program and family support programs operating at the agency’s Reach Out Centre on Nickel Street in Port Colborne.
Leon’s Furniture started their family business in Welland more than a century ago in 1909 with many Leon family members continuing to live in the local area, including in Port Colborne. A company spokesperson said, “Our company is extremely blessed to be in a position to help Port Cares. Many members of the Leon family continue to be a part of this great community and are grateful for all the people involved with Port Cares. We sincerely hope that other companies in our Niagara area, who are in a position to give back, will do so generously. Now more than ever, we must stand together and offer helping hands to those around us.”
The Port Colborne Harvey’s Swiss Chalet location has been a longstanding donor of food and food supplies to the Reach Out Centre. “We truly appreciate the ongoing donation of food which is vital to our ability to provide hundreds of nutritious meals every week. This monetary donation will help us keep the building running,” explains Amanda Upper, Supervisor of the Reach Out Centre.
Amanda adds that “While COVID-19 is driving up local families’ need for assistance, this virus has also meant the complete shutdown of our annual fundraising events which provide the income we need to run the Reach Out Centre and our charity programs. These generous donations do so much to help so many. We are truly appreciative of the support.”
QUICK FACTS ABOUT PORT CARES REACH OUT CENTRE:
- Port Cares Reach Out Centre Food Bank (ROFC) assists more than 1,700 individuals. A third of the people reliant on the ROFC Food Bank are children.
- Port Cares does not receive government funding to run the Reach Out Centre Food Bank. Port Cares is a registered charity relying on donations and fundraising to operate the centre and provide supports to low-income families.
- On average, 15,000 pounds of food is distributed through the Port Cares Food Bank each month.
- The most needed food item donations for the food bank include canned meat, canned fruit, canned vegetables, pasta & sauce, peanut butter, cereal, jam, baby food, formula and diapers, personal hygiene items.
- Last school year the Port Cares Reach Out Food Centre located at 61 Nickel Street, Port Colborne, provided 2,020 lunch kits and more than 12,000 lunches to local school-age elementary and secondary school children who live in low-income households.
- Hot, nutritious community meals are served three times a week to families and individuals in need with more than 60 adults and children typically attend each meal. In winter months there will be nearly 100 clients attending at mealtime. Currently there are 704 low-income adults and children registered for the meal program.
ABOUT PORT CARES ONLINE 50/50 DRAW
- Port Cares launched an online 50-50 draw to help close the $125,000 revenue shortfall the agency is facing as a result of the cancellation of its fundraising events due to COVID-19.
- Port Cares will be running two online 50-50 draws this year in the hopes of raising $40,000 to $50,000 to fund the ROFC and family support services.
- Tickets for current draw can be purchased online at www.portcares5050.ca until Fri., June 4th @ 2 p.m.
ABOUT PORT CARES
- Port Colborne Community Association for Resource Extension was established as a not-for-profit registered charity in 1986. Port Cares provides development, employment, and support services to enhance the quality of life for individuals in Port Colborne, Wainfleet and the surrounding area. To learn more about our organization please visit www.portcares.ca
- Donations to Port Cares can now be made electronically through e-transfer firstname.lastname@example.org or by logging onto www.portcares.ca and clicking on the DONATE button.
- Port Cares’ mission is to help those in our community with social and economic needs improve their quality of life. Port Cares’ vision is to provide help, hope and opportunity for all to achieve their potential.