United Communities Credit Union provides aid for local food fanks


By Joel Charron

The shelves at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission look a little more full these days thanks to the United Communities Credit Union.

The Food and Fellowship Mission was one of 20 Windsor-Essex food banks that received a helping hand last Wednesday morning. Over 27,000 pounds of local beef, potatoes and produce were handed out as part of the UCCU Farms to Food Banks program.

The Mission was given 100 pounds of ground beef, six bushels of apples weighing 40 pounds each and five 50 pound bags of potatoes.

“This is a big lift,” said Food and Fellowship president Tim McAllister. “After Christmas there is still a lot of need.”


Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister and an Essex High School student load the Mission’s van with apples and potatoes.

According to McAllister, the Mission food meal program served over 12,000 people last year while the food basket program provided over 700 items.

McAllister said the donation from the UCCU is very generous.

“The donation is very, very appreciated,” he said. “When I got the letter (from the UCCU) I was very happy. I know now we will be able to help lots of people that really need it at this time.”

John Drop, a member of the board of directors at the Mission noted that the donation allows the Mission to do what it was meant to do, people helping people.

“The mission blesses people in many different ways,” said Drop. “Some of the volunteers are blessed more than the people who come in.”

McAllister also mentioned although the Mission is very grateful for all the donations they receive during Christmas, the need for donations doesn’t stop because the holiday season is over.

“People need help more than ever,” he said. “People are accustomed to one way but things have changed and it’s difficult. When things change we help people adjust to that change.”

Since the inception of the Farms to Food Banks program $262,000 has been contributed to the program, which has purchased of 461,000 pounds of food in Essex, Huron and Perth Counties.

“We worked with local farmers to purchase apples, potatoes, beef and eggs to provide to area food banks,” stated Jim Lynn, president and CEO of United Communities Credit Union. “It’s been five years since we created this program and we are proud of the impact it has had in our region, by helping feed close to 200,000 people since 2007.”

“Our Farms to Food Banks program was also recognized provincially by receiving Concentra Financials ‘Empower Your Community’ award. This award injected an additional $10,000 into the program and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” added Liz Arkinstall, manager of community relations at United Communities Credit Union.

Windsor-Essex County Food Bank Association president June Muir said that having nutritious food is a luxury that not everyone has.

“We often take for granted that everyone has access to this type of fresh food, and that’s just not the case. Receiving these kinds of items means the world to people,” said Muir.

Muir also noted that donations of this nature offer relief for those in need.

I’m amazed at the donations we are receiving. (United Communities Credit Union) has supported us all along. We greatly appreciate it,” said Muir.   “When we hand things out, you don’t know what that means to those who come and utilize a food bank.”


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