UCT’s Sudbury, Ontario Council 1051 tackles hunger head on

Back in October I talked a little about hunger in North America and manageable ways that local communities can address this growing issue. UCT is already on it, with many of our local councils across the U.S. and Canada engaged in longtime support of food banks, food programs and special holiday projects for hungry individuals in their areas. One of those councils is Sudbury, Ontario Council 1051, whose members (20+) recently put in 100+ hours unpacking 1,040  frozen turkeys, loading them onto trucks, transporting them and finally unloading them into freezers owned by The Salvation Army to be distributed to people in need during the holidays as part of the organization’s Christmas baskets program.

I caught up a few weeks ago with Council 1051 member and UCT Past International President Jerry Giff, who’s involved in just about every council project, to ask him to talk a bit about the ways Council 1051 has been taking on the hunger issue in Sudbury for years – and in many cases, decades. Here’s what he had to say:

“The 1,040 turkeys purchased this year for The Salvation Army started out as 300 birds almost 20 years ago. This project is a partnership between Sudbury Council 1051 and the Sudbury Charities Foundation, and annually the cost is around $10,000. The turkey campaign has a combined support of our two groups in excess of $200,000 over the past 15-20 years. It’s one of our biggest projects and one that we’re quite proud of.

Combatting hunger in our community has been a project of Sudbury Council 1051 for as long as I can remember, at least 25-30 years. My first memory is from the 1980s when I borrowed a 5-ton truck from my employer and 10 UCT members filled it with food we purchased at National Grocers wholesale, which was a supplier to small businesses. We delivered the truckload of food to the Inner City Foodbank, one of many local food banks servicing those in need on a daily basis. Our contribution for that effort was just over $2,500.

The need for helping the hungry in our community has grown exponentially over the years and there is now a central Sudbury Food Bank that serves in a ‘central banking’ capacity to provide food to over 40 local food banks operating throughout the Sudbury region. Of course we support the central organization’s efforts, because we understand how great the need is and addressing the hunger issue is one of Council 1051’s top causes. We donate annually to the Sudbury Food Bank, always in excess of $1,000 and often more than once a year.

We also support Better Beginnings Better Futures, which focuses on promoting and strengthening the personal growth of children through programs like its student nutrition project that provides breakfasts for students at a majority of the schools in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. The program is dependent on volunteers and community partnerships, and we’re glad to be able to help.

Last, but not least, is our council’s Christmas ham project, which is our biggest fundraiser as well as a way to help feed the Sudbury community. Council 1051 purchases hams from Vitto Brands Foods in Sudbury and we sell them to raise funds for our charitable projects throughout the year. We also donate a number of hams to the Sudbury Hospice and the Blue Door Café that feeds hundreds of homeless citizens daily. This project has grown incrementally over the past 16 years. Year one we sold about 250 hams, last year nearly 3,000.

The list of Council 1051 causes is extensive, but helping the hungry in our area is a priority. We realize the issue continues to grow despite our best efforts, but we’ll continue to do all we can to make sure everyone in our community has access to food on a daily basis.”

Thank you, Jerry, and kudos to Council 1051 for making such a big difference in the Sudbury community. If you have a story about your local council’s impact where you live that you’d like to share on our blog, contact Marketing Manager Kate Chillinsky at kchillinsky@uct.org.

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