Ag Day results in boon for local food banks

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From left, Brenda LeClair of Outreach for Hunger, Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff, Capt. Stephen Holland of Salvation Army, Kent Federation of Agriculture president Jay Cunningham and KFA director Mary Ann Udvari showcase the variety of goods donated on Agriculture Day Tuesday. The food went to Outreach for Hunger and the Salvation Army food banks.

By Bruce Corcoran

In celebration of Canada’s Agriculture Day, the Kent Federation of Agriculture (KFA) worked its food donation magic again.

With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to restrictions in the ability to gather in numbers, Mary Anne Udvari, spokesperson for the KFA, said the celebration took place once again at the Salvation Army Church on Orangewood Boulevard in Chatham Tuesday morning, as it has in the past, but with fewer numbers.

That didn’t stop the donations of food for Outreach for Hunger and Salvation Army food banks from rolling in.

“We were able to go about this because we are considered an essential service and we are providing assistance to the vulnerable in our community,” she said.

Udvari said on top of donations from local producers, members of the general public got in on the donating this year.

“Because we were offering curbside drop offs, we actually had people stop by and drop off donations. I’m truly amazed how this community comes together and how generous they are,” she said. “It was a surprise, because we have not done it that way before. But we may tray it again sometime. It was just so easy for everyone to drive up and pass their donations along.”

Organizers initially had no idea how popular the curbside offering would be.

“We weren’t really sure what to expect. Prior to this community coming into the (COVID-19) Red Zone, we had certain numbers we had to abide by,” she said. “We had a little bit of flexibility. And it all turned out just right.”

Udvari said KFA board members had approached local ag producers in the days leading up to Ag Day seeking donations to the food banks. They too didn’t disappoint.

“This community is so generous. It’s just astounding,” she said.

Ag Day provides the two Chatham food banks with a mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh meat. Udvari said the KFA had a donation of ground pork.

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