The Moose Jaw Co-op, in partnership with Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), kicked off the annual Good Buy to Hunger campaign on Nov. 20, starting one of the city's largest annual food drives to fill the shelves of the Moose Jaw & District Food Bank.
The campaign began accepting donations on Nov. 18, and will end with a final huge push timed to coincide with the arrival of the CPKC Holiday Train at 7:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18. The Holiday Train doubles as a performance stage, with country musicians MacKenzie Porter and Dallas Smith providing the concert this year from 8 to 8:30 p.m. at 3 Manitoba Street West.
Good Buy to Hunger started in 2008. Co-op customers are able to pay an extra $10 at the checkout till for a bag of food. There are also significant donations from local businesses and corporate sponsors, and the Co-op itself stretches dollars to their limit to maximize the final donation amounts.
"So, every year, we team up with the food bank and join along with the Holiday Train, and we take donations at the till," explained Tim Wonsiak, grocery manager at the Moose Jaw Co-op Food Store.
"A $10 purchase of a bag goes toward getting food together for the food bank. We take care of all the shopping, I try to find the best possible deals for this time of year, and basically we build pallets to supply the needs of the food bank.
"I co-ordinate closely with Terri (Smith, operations manager at the Moose Jaw & District Food Bank) to find out exactly what they need right now, whether that's Kraft Dinner, soups, non-perishable side dishes, some frozen foods, whatever they need. ... It gets harder and harder to make $10 go a long way, so I get started early.
"It's hard to explain exactly how that all goes behind the scenes, but I want to make sure each dollar is going as far as possible."
Last year, the campaign contributed nearly 19,000 lbs of food to the Moose Jaw & District Food Bank, which relies entirely on community generosity to carry out its mission. The pallets are traditionally delivered by volunteers from the Moose Jaw Fire Department.
Customers contributing to Good Buy to Hunger this year have the unique opportunity to potentially win four (4) tickets to ride on the Holiday Train from Regina to Moose Jaw on Dec. 18. Each customer will be entered into a draw, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 15.
In response to some providers blocking access to Canadian news on their platforms, our website, MooseJawToday.com will continue to be your source for hyper-local Moose Jaw news. Bookmark MooseJawToday.com and sign up for our free online newsletter to read the latest local developments.