Glebe residents help out those in need

Ariel Hartman

Knowing that putting food on the table can be a struggle for some families, residents of Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood are doing their best to help those who cannot afford to feed their loved ones by participating in the Spring Food Drive at a local grocery store.

The Glebe Metro received great support from members of the community in their food drive that ended yesterday.

“It’s usually really well received,” said Nathan Pilson, a manager at the Glebe Metro.  “We had three to four large grocery carts full of product this time.”

At the entrance to the grocery story, there was a food bank volunteer handing out special paper bags to customers as they walked in the door, encouraging them to fill it with food for the less fortunate.

Metro accepts donations for the Ottawa Food Bank year round, but Pilson said this event was a special weekend blitz to get people into the mood of donating.

“It (was) a very good event for the food bank,” said Pilson.  “They are always surprised by the amount of product that gets donated from our store because we are so small.”

“(The residents) were really generous here in the Glebe,” he added.

Kathy Dubé, another manager at Metro, said she thinks there was so much support for the food drive because it is right near Easter.

“We do one in the fall and at Christmas, but we do this one because Easter is coming up,” she said.

“There has been a lot of support, everyone is pretty generous.”

Dubé also said that while the Spring Food Drive was a success, she thinks the customers do not need an excuse to donate food.

In the front window of the store sits a large, unassuming brown paper bag with “food bank donations” written across the front where customers can drop in a few items for the food bank at the end of their grocery shop.

“The customers do know where (the bag) is, and if something is on sale, they will usually pick up a few extra for the food bank donation bag,” she said, looking inside at the contents of the bag.

This particular Metro is located at the heart of the Glebe, at the corner of Bank Street and Second Avenue, and many of its customers live nearby, making it a large part of the community, said Paul Duber, a Glebe resident and Metro customer.

Duber, who braved the rain and rode his bike to get groceries, said he thinks the store is doing a good thing for the community and that it’s important for the Metro, which is so central in the community, to take a leadership role in encouraging people to donate to the Food Bank.

He also said he contributes to the Ottawa Food Bank every week through his church, but he will often drop a few cans into the brown paper bag that has become a permanent fixture in the window of his local grocery store.

“I think it is a very worthwhile thing to be doing,” said Duber. “I wish we didn’t have to, but there are people who don’t have enough food.  There are lots of people who are unemployed and the benefits are low for single parent families, there are a lot of people who simply can’t afford to eat.”

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