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Charity plans to stuff extra food box into holiday delivery sked

'I love the fact that people in our community care enough to give this much,' says Fresh Food Weekly founder

A successful month of fundraising will result in more food around the table for recipients of Fresh Food Weekly.

In the last three weeks, Leah Dyck, who is the founder of the local food charity that provides a free monthly meal box delivery program to low-income families residing in the city of Barrie, has raised more than $16,000 — money she says means the organization will be able to offer a second box in the month of October.

“We will be delivering two meal boxes to 75 families in need, for a total of 150 meal boxes,” she said.

The Thanksgiving meal boxes will be delivered to recipients on Thursday, Oct. 5, and will include either a ham or turkey as well as traditional holiday meal items such as carrots, onions, beets, potatoes, pepper and butternut squash, stuffing and cranberry sauce, as well as pumpkin pie or butter tarts for dessert, Dyck added. In addition, the box will include the usual staples, such as milk, vegetables, fruit, cheese and butter.

“Thanksgiving lands on the 10th this year, which is a lot earlier in the month (so) we are doing two deliveries this month. (The first) on Oct. 5 and the regular one on Oct. 19,” she told BarrieToday, adding a recent donation of $10,000 from Guys That Give, which is a group of local men looking to make a direct and positive effect in their community.

That money, in combination with an additional $6,000 raised this month, is integral in the charity’s ability to meet the growing need in the community. 

“Fundraising has been going really well, and I think it’s probably because Thanksgiving is around the corner… people are just more giving for the holidays. I anticipate that Christmas will also be really good for us for fundraising as well," Dyck said. 

Being able to offer a second food box specifically aimed to help clients enjoy a proper Thanksgiving meal means so much to Dyck, who says she has raised more than $40,000 since December 2022.

“I love the fact that people in our community care enough to give this much,” she said. “One person who I’d never met e-transferred me $2,700 and put '(for) 60 Thanksgiving meal boxes' in the message. … She just wanted to help. I am just so impressed that people care enough to send that much.”

This level of support, she acknowledged, helps to validate the work she's doing.

“As people begin to realize what the reality is, and they go to the grocery store and see the prices… and think 'I can barely afford this, how are people with so much less than me able to eat?'... (they’re realizing) they’re not eating! What I am doing is showing that when you give people the opportunity to help, they will help," Dyck said. 

Anyone interested in more information or looking to make a donation is invited to visit the Fresh Food Weekly website or Facebook page.