Mont St. Joseph piles up the food for Mission Week donation

Residents, staff, volunteers, board and auxiliary members, and kids from Blooms and Buds Daycare pose for a photo with the piles of food collected for the Prince Albert Food Bank during Mission Week and Mont St. Joseph Home. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Often Prince Albert residents are digging into their pockets or donating their time to help the Mont St. Joseph Home, but this year, staff, residents, volunteers and board and auxiliary members wanted to turn the tables.

On Friday, they put the finishing touches on a week-long quest to give as much food to the Prince Albert Food Bank as possible. For Brian Martin, the home’s executive director, seeing the end result was more than worth the effort.

“I saw the display being put up early this afternoon and quite frankly I was overwhelmed,” Martin said during a short interview Friday afternoon. “The reality is there are a lot of individuals who dug into their household stocks at home, or they went to the store and they purchased things, knowing that it’s going to a good cause, knowing that it’s going to people who need our support.”

Mont St. Joseph organized the week-long drive as part of their Mission Week celebration. The annual event is designed to remind residents, staff members and volunteers about the home’s core Christian values: hospitality, spirituality, compassion, collaboration and accountability.

Martin said there was a strong desire among residents, staff and volunteers to give back to a community that has given so much to them. Choosing the food bank as their charity of choice was a popular decision.

“The reality is there are so many different community groups who are in need,” Martin explained. “This year we chose the food bank because that was the place most people expressed an interest in contributing to. Next year, who knows?”

The various groups connected with the home held a special competition on Friday to see who brought in the biggest pile of food, created the best display, or gathered the healthiest items. They got a special boost from Blooms and Buds Daycare, who also spent the week collecting food and creating their own display.

The Prince Albert Food Bank was more than happy to receive the donation. Executive director Kim Scruby said the summer months are typically their busiest time of year, so any extra donations will go a long way to keeping the shelves stocked.

“Everything is a need at (summer) time,” Scruby said. “People go out of town. People are on holidays. We have the biggest increase in clients coming in and a lot of folks who normally donate, they’re just not around, so this is going to help a lot.”