Project Porchlight food drive has what may be best year ever thanks to community effort

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If you weren’t paying attention, you might have thought a major catastrophe had struck Huntsville last night. But all of those sirens were a good thing.

Emergency vehicles accompanied by dozens of volunteers made their way up and down the streets of Huntsville to collect non-perishable food donations for the Salvation Army Food Bank in the 30th annual Project Porchlight food drive.

 

Back at the Salvation Army, the gymnasium was a hive of activity as local cadets unloaded donations from a stream of vehicles—everything from school buses to pickup trucks—and wheeled grocery carts full of canned and boxed goods to volunteers waiting to sort them by category. That effort continued into Thursday morning.

“We’d like to give a huge thank you to the community for all of their generosity and helping those with food insecurity in our community,” said Krystal Fuller, Community Ministries Co-ordinator for the Huntsville Salvation Army.

Although the total amount of donations is still being tallied, Fuller believes it has exceeded past years. “This is our 30th year and people were just so generous. It’s exciting and amazing.”

Fuller said that about 300 people helped with the food drive last night, from gathering donations in the community to unloading and sorting them when they arrived. “It was pretty busy in here. We had cadets and firefighters, paramedics, community groups, real estate offices, everybody from the community came in and helped. It was incredible.”

Firefighters and cadets play a big role in the food drive effort, including (from left) Huntsville Fire Chief Steve Hernen, Captain Adam Smith, Warrant Officer 2nd Class Emily Cain, Cpl Charlie Fraser, Cpl Evan Scholten, District Chief Brady Corry, Civilian Instructor Derek Mossman, and Warrant Officer 1st Class Matthew Sutey

Emergency responders and cadets play a big role in the food drive effort, including (from left) Huntsville Fire Chief Steve Hernen, Captain Adam Smith, Warrant Officer 2nd Class Emily Cain, Cpl Charlie Fraser, Cpl Evan Scholten, District Chief Brady Corry, Civilian Instructor Derek Mossman, and Warrant Officer 1st Class Matthew Sutey

The Salvation Army provided volunteers with some goodies during and after the food drive. “It’s nice to meet up after and just have a bit of fellowship,” said Fuller. “It’s nice to be able to thank every one of them for what they do.”

(From left) Lead volunteer Ralph Gibson, volunteer Gord Swan, and Salvation Army Community Ministries Coordinator Krystal Fuller continue sorting donations the day after the 30th annual Project Porchlight

(From left) Lead volunteer Ralph Gibson, volunteer Gord Swan, and Salvation Army Community Ministries Coordinator Krystal Fuller continue sorting donations the day after the 30th annual Project Porchlight

The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department, which initiated the idea of a door-to-door food drive 30 years ago, continues to play a large role in the effort.

They were pleased with how well the 30th annual food drive went, said Mike Vadlja, Fire Prevention Officer. “We are anxious to see what the final count will be.”

Although the volunteers make every effort to get to every house with a light on, they have a lot of territory to cover and inevitably miss some. Vadlja said they apologize to any that were missed. If you had a donation waiting, it can be dropped off at any Huntsville Lake of Bays Fire Department fire hall or at the Salvation Army:

  • Huntsville Fire Hall Station #1, 1 Payne Drive;
  • The Salvation Army in Huntsville, 4 Mary Street E.;
  • Port Sydney Fire Hall, 387 South Mary Lake Road; or
  • Lake of Bays Fire Halls, 1007 Limberlost Rd., 1230 Fox Point Rd. and 12 University St., Baysville.

Although these donations will go a long way toward helping people facing food insecurity in our community, the Salvation Army relies on year-round support. Remember them come summer time, too.

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