They had nowhere to display a transport trailer load of carrots, but the people behind the local Food Freedom Day were all smiles nonetheless.
On the day marking when the average family has earned enough money to pay for their groceries for the entire year, the Kent Federation of Agriculture was busy helping those less fortunate get healthy food options through the local food banks. The KFA members donated perishable and non-perishable food items alike to Outreach for Hunger and the Salvation Army food banks on Feb. 9
Mary Anne Udvari, the head of the Food Freedom Day committee for the KFA, said this is the fourth year marking the day by donating to the food banks.
“I’m shocked by the level of continued support,” she said, adding one supporter donated an entire transport truck full of carrots.
“We celebrate that within 40 days of the New Year, we are able to pay for our groceries for a year.”
Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope said the celebration by the KFA is multi-faceted.
“We recognize food is a cheap commodity here, but recognize people will need help to get the proper nutrition into their bodies,” he said. “We’re so proud we grow some of the highest quality crops around. Our farmers do a great job.”
Kim Cooper, an agriculture specialist with the municipality’s economic development department, said the donations are appreciated.
“I’m so proud of our sector; so proud of our farmers who continue to support our community year in and year out,” he said.
The recipients of the donations say families utilizing their services don’t always have ready access to fresh produce.
Brenda Leclair of Outreach for Hunger, called the donation “tremendous.
“This makes people aware of where the food originates,” she said. “The families we’re serving don’t feel that freedom. The donations support those families and help make a difference.”
Capt. Stephen Holland with the Salvation Army said the donors deserve a pat on the back.
“Without farmers, we’d all be quite hungry. The fresh vegetables and fresh fruit are particularly appreciated,” he said of the donations.
Udvari said on top of the food donations, which do not have a dollar value associated with them, KFA members also gave $5,000 to the food banks.