INNISFAIL – For many years the Rotary Club of Innisfail quietly had a special program for needy and vulnerable citizens that made an important positive difference in the lives of many in the community.
Rotary would donate a cheque for $500 to the Innisfail and District Food Bank to purchase items that were not part of the agency’s mandate, such as hand bar soap, men’s and women’s deodorant and shampoo.
But sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the program for the past two years.
“We actually approached Rotary because we were told by some of the volunteers that have been there for several years that Rotary used to do this but hadn't done it last year,” said food bank volunteer Heather Taylor. “It was the COVID situation for the reason it didn't happen. We approached Rotary, and they jumped all over it. So, it was perfect.”
On July 21 the program was back with a cheque presentation at John’s No Frills. Rotary proudly donated $500, with John’s No Frills topping it up with an additional $250.
“Rotary does something called the Four-Way Test where it says, ‘Is it truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?’’’ noted Rotary member Dani Rain. “So of course, when Heather Taylor came and talked with us, we felt that it passed the Four-Way Test and we wanted to help.
“Anything that we approve has to kind of pass the Four-Way Test and we definitely feel the Innisfail food bank passes that and we are happy to donate,” added Rain.
Taylor noted the latest statistics from the local food bank show a 20 per cent increase in demand for service this year at the agency. This need is especially true for essential items beyond what the food bank can offer.
“We're not really required to buy that. It's food that we're supplying. If we don't get something like this, we may not supply it,” said Taylor. “It’s the same with toilet paper. That’s never been one of the things that we buy. So, we depend on donations for that reason.”
John Harris, owner of John’s No Frills, was grateful he could help and support the food bank, calling the longstanding Rotary-created program a “great idea.
“I wasn't even aware of the restrictions for the food bank until it was brought it up to me a few years ago and this makes for more knowledge for more people to know that these items are in need at the food bank as well,” said Harris.