A whole lot of volunteers in Moncton, N.B. ship meals packing containers to these in want – New Brunswick

Roughly 300 volunteers like Maria and Phil Tomlinson drove to the Moncton Coliseum on Wednesday to load up their vehicles with food boxes to deliver to those in need on Wednesday.

“We do it every year and this is our second time through today, so we just keep coming back until the boxes are done,” Maria said while they waited in line.

As part of the Food Depot Alimentaire’s annual Christmas Box program, 1,700 households in the Greater Moncton area received boxes with over $80 worth of food.

“(The boxes) have enough for a healthy Christmas dinner as well as some cereal, some peanut butter, some bread, some things that will hold them over the Christmas Day and Boxing Day time so they can get back in the food banks early in the new year,” program co-ordinator Donna Eagles said in an interview.

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She said the boxes are funded by donations from the community, and the turkey or ham included are provided by the Sue Stultz & Moncton Firefighters Turkey Drive.

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She said there has been an increased demand from food banks across the province this year.

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“We had to cap (the program) at 1,700 because that’s physically all that we could do here,” she said.

Everything from packing the boxes to the transportation and loading them into vehicles is handled by a large team of volunteers.

Eagles said roughly 150 volunteers showed up on Monday and Tuesday to pack the food.

“We have just had a fantastic time, everyone is having so much fun in doing what we do. I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative we are of the volunteers that come in,” Eagles said.

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Riverview firefighter Jonathan Gorham was helping direct traffic as a steady stream of cars drove in on Wednesday afternoon.

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“The people are, you just see the excitement on their faces that they want to help out in a small way and it’s great,” he said.

Members of Bernice McNaughton High School’s hockey team were loading the boxes into the cars.

McNaughton Highlanders team member Michael Doucet said it was important for him to be there because “everyone should be able to eat on Christmas and it’s sad that some people can’t.”

“We’re just here to help,” Doucet said.

Eagles said the Food Depot Alimentaire will evaluate possibly expanding the program next year to meet increasing demand.

“We’ll do a debrief after this program and accommodate and evaluate and set our plans for next year as deemed necessary,” she said.

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