BRACEBRIDGE - Though the need for social assistance has risen in Muskoka, so has the generosity of its residents.
Caring people gave up their time in this busy season and worked at the Salvation Army Church in Bracebridge, stuffing food boxes and organizing a sea of toys. Paul Baker and Dorothy Shier are newbies to the event and felt great for participating.
(Photo by Bev McMullen)
Since the beginning of December, the Bracebridge Salvation Army has collected about 350 hampers worth of food to help those less fortunate in the community. The hampers are set to be distributed to about 325 area families today throughout the Muskoka region.
“What we have seen is that despite the fact need is up, so is generosity,” said Salvation Army Lt. Fred Reid. “Not only in food, but also in the money that we’ve collected through the (Moose FM) radiothon, through the kettles, and through people just dropping by with donations.”
In a previous interview with this newspaper, Reid said the Salvation Army has seen a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the number of people seeking assistance. The reason, he said, is due to rising unemployment and inflation, which has driven the cost of food beyond the reach of an increasing number of families.
Full turkey dinner
Each hamper handed out to needy families today contains between $175 to $200 worth of food, ranging from canned tuna and pasta to fresh produce, milk and eggs.
To give each recipient family a true taste of the holidays, the hampers will also include either a turkey or a gift certificate that can be used to purchase a festive meal.
Last year, the Salvation Army delivered 304 Christmas hampers, 340 presents to area children, and 609 holiday gifts to shut-ins and seniors in the area.
“We certainly do a lot of good work, but it’s because we’re supported by a lot of good people,” said Reid. “We’re certainly very grateful for Muskoka and Bracebridge, for all the support they’ve shown us.”