COVID-19 Emergency Food Hamper program resumed during provincial lockdown
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre (NGFC) re-launched its COVID-19 Emergency Food Hamper program in January in response to the provincial lockdown and stay-at-home order. The program was initiated in March 2020 to support families struggling with food insecurities during the pandemic. The program was briefly paused in late Fall for the Friendship Centre to be able to conduct their annual Community Christmas Hamper Drive. Executive Director of the Nishnawbe Gamik Friendship Centre (NGFC), Jennifer Thomas, shared, “The Friendship Centre has been successful in accessing COVID-19 funding to support our community...to date we have provided support to over 3100 community members.”
Thomas shared, “This pandemic has been a challenge for us all, for various reasons. The Friendship Centre wanted to provide some sort of comfort in an uncomfortable time. Food insecurity is a serious issue in our community prior to this pandemic, and we understood that the need would even be greater during these unfamiliar times. We are honored to have the opportunity to do this for our community and will continue this program until we exhaust all avenues of funding available.”
The food hampers consist of a variety of perishable and non-perishable items. Thomas shared that each hampers includes canned goods, cereal, deli meats, frozen chicken or beef, eggs, dairy products, rice, pasta, and some fresh produce. She added that the centre has been expanding its capacity to enable storage of a greater amount of goods that are needed to delivery programs, such as this.
People can request an emergency hamper by calling (807)738-4671 or emailing [email protected]. The program is only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when a time will be arranged for a safe drop off at the door for those who sign up for the hamper.
Anyone looking to donate can send a cheque to the Nishnawbe Gamik Friendship, Box 1299, 52 King Street, Sioux Lookout, ON, P8T 1B8, or via email transfer to [email protected]. Thomas shared, “Local businesses, organizations, and individuals have provided donations to assist with our efforts. We are grateful for your kindness and generosity.” She added that The Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre is a registered charity and thus can provide its donors with a charitable receipt.