The shelves are well-stocked at the food bank in Alexandria, but there is one type of item it could use more of.
Terry Tuppert is the Vice President of the St-Vincent-de-Paul Society in Alexandria which operates the food bank.
He said the items they need the most are for personal care and hygiene.
St-Vincent-de-Paul does not purchase those items with the funds it receives in donations and relies only on whatever people give.
The personal care items most in need are disposable diapers, deodorant, shampoo, and feminine hygiene products.
Tuppert said diapers are a challenge for many people to get because they are expensive, and because children grow quickly, it is important for the food bank to have a selection of sizes in stock.
In Alexandria, the food bank, clothing, and thrift store provided by St-Vincent-de-Paul has been preparing for Christmas and winter.
For people with low and fixed incomes, “It’s a costly thing to live through winter,” Tuppert said.
The extra costs come from the need to pay for heat, lighting, and warm clothing for children.
Tuppert explained that the Christmas season puts extra pressure on people with limited incomes because of the pressure to spend money for gifts and other things associated with celebrating.
“Their dollar needs to be stretched,” he said.
The food bank provides food baskets with a balanced selection of items to people who qualify. Families receive more items because of the need to feed children and provide lunches for school.
Separate food baskets for Christmas are given to those who apply and qualify. According to Tuppert, 300 of them could be distributed this year.
“That’s a big project,” he said, regarding organizing the Christmas basket project.
St-Vincent-de-Paul in Alexandria serves all of Glengarry County, and it relies on support from throughout the county.
Donations of food and clothing items are accepted, but the organization also relies heavily on monetary donations, so it can purchase food.
“The people of Glengarry are really, really generous,” Tuppert said.
He added that many corporate sponsors regularly contribute.
The St-Vincent-de-Paul food bank in Alexandria is in the basement of the presbytery of Église Sacré-Cœur.
It regularly distributes an average of 35 food baskets weekly, but 235 Christmas baskets have been distributed this year.
Service from the food bank is limited to residents of Glengarry County. Anyone who needs assistance can find out more by calling 613-525-0941.