With Christmas approaching, The Sharing Place Food Centre is hoping the community will pitch in to support local residents in need.
The organization will be handing out holiday hampers next month. They will consist of breakfast and dinner, including a turkey, chicken or ham, as well as other items that are usually provided to members.
“It’s a very busy time for us,” said Sharing Place executive director Chris Peacock. “It’s a time when many people in our community are burdened with the expenses of the holidays and the pressure of the expenses of the holidays. Our member base feels much more stretched.”
This is the time of year when there are usually plenty of food drives in the community, but “COVID has put an end to that, so we’re dealing with a potential decrease in both food and revenue,” Peacock said.
Some businesses are stepping up to raise money for The Sharing Place. That includes Plaza Auto Group, which is accepting donations at its local Kia, Subaru and Volkwagen dealerships and is matching contributions up to $5,000.
Home Hardware’s annual Ladies’ Night, an event that brings in a significant amount of money and food, isn’t happening this year because of the pandemic, but it is selling ballots for prizes at the store, with all proceeds going to The Sharing Place.
The organization is still accepting donations of food, but financial contributions are best because volunteers can shop for exactly what is needed.
The Sharing Place gets most of its donations during the holidays, but the demand never ends, Peacock said.
“We don’t receive a lot of support right after the holiday season,” he said. “The need is there year round.”
The number of people getting food from The Sharing Place has increased each month since the pandemic hit, and Peacock expects there will be an even greater need early in the new year.
“We need to make sure we’re stocked up,” he said.
Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the Dufferin Street facility and can also be made through its website.
Those in need of a holiday hamper must register by calling The Sharing Place at 705-327-4273.
Hampers will be available for pickup Dec. 17 and 19.
Peacock is confident the community will answer the call for donations.
“I’m expecting the generosity of our community to keep up, because that’s what Orillia does,” he said. “It’s the season to give back.”