‘Tis the season of giving, and one great example of people getting into the spirit is the 5th annual Fill-A-Bag campaign.

The campaign is run by the North Grenville Community Church in support of the Salvation Army Food Bank, but is really a community-wide initiative, says Fill-A-Bag coordinator, Charly Stewart. There are over 225 people involved in delivering paper bags door-to-door in the community, to be filled with non-perishable food items. A week later, the same people go around, pick up the filled bags, and deliver them to a central area where they can be sorted and organized.

This year “Christmas Central” is in an empty store at the Kemptville Mall. The space has been donated to the Salvation Army as a short term sorting bay by Strathallen Property Management Inc. The large store was packed to the brim with peanut butter, cereal, soup, pasta and other non-perishable food items last Sunday, as cars rolled in with bag after bag full of food. “There were over 1,600 bags returned this year,” says Calvin Wong, the Director of the Salvation Army. “We estimate that we collected about $35,000 worth of food.”

The food collected will not only fill the 120 food hampers that the Salvation Army is preparing for people in need over the holidays, it will also populate the food bank well into the Fall. “It’s such a generous community,” Calvin says. “We’re always overwhelmed.”
Young people in the community played a huge role in this year’s Fill-A-Bag campaign. About 70 members of the youth group AMPED students, from Southgate Community Church, were there last Tuesday evening, helping to sort and organize food, which Calvin says takes about a week to do. Other youth organizations that were involved included the Upper Canada Cyclone Hockey Team, the Kemptville Precision Dance Team, the Sea Cadets, the Scouts, and around 80 grade 7/8 students from North Grenville District High School, just to name a few.

“It’s the young and the old working together,” Charly says, beaming. “This is all because North Grenville people take care of North Grenville people.”

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