The Gleaner
Opinions

Our food drive, your food bank

From the moment I arrived at Moisson Sud-Ouest, I was immediately made aware of the importance of the Guignolée des Médias food drive to the organization’s annual calendar. However, it wasn’t until I became more involved in the event’s organization that I really grasped the extent of its significance for the food bank and the community in general.

The historical roots of the guignolée in Quebec are strong. In the old days, villagers would go from door to door, singing Christmas carols and collecting food and money to help the less fortunate. This outpouring of generosity at Christmas time is deeply rooted in our traditions.

Today, guignolées or food drives take on many different forms across the province. This year, we’re celebrating the 20th edition of the Guignolée des Médias across the Suroît region, which includes the three MRCs served by the Moisson Sud-Ouest food bank. Organized by regional media and committed businesses, the guignolée in the Suroît consists of an in-person fundraising drive at major intersections across the region, and a major online donation campaign that takes place in conjunction with the provincial media food drive. Volunteers will be collecting donations on December 7, at 13 intersections in seven municipalities in the Suroît. The fundraising campaign runs from November 24 to December 31.

Last year, $175,000 was raised during the campaign. All the funds raised through the media food drive are crucial to the food bank’s year-round operations. Without these funds, it’s hard to imagine how Moisson Sud-Ouest could continue to supply over 80 community organizations that collectively feed 14,700 people per month.

You’ll notice that we place more emphasis on monetary donations and less on the traditional donations of non-perishable foodstuffs in our advertising for the guignolée. We’re always grateful to receive food for distribution. Because of our shared tradition, the holiday season is the time of year when we receive the most food through a variety of citizen-led initiatives. However, it’s important to understand that a food bank must respond to a year-round demand for food. What’s more, we need to offer consistency in the variety of food distributed to those receiving food aid. For these reasons, cash donations are much more flexible and sustainable in enabling us to accomplish our mission. With every dollar donated, food bank operations can generate $15 worth of food for distribution.

La Guignolée des Médias du Suroît is the moment when the whole community comes together to put an end to hunger in our region. After all, food is one of the necessities of life.
Yan Ouellette
Communications, events, and philanthropy coordinator
Moisson Sud-Ouest

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