Packing potatoes for PR

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 On Wednesday, March 8, a group of students from Sheridan College’s PRCC program volunteered their time to a food bank at Oakridge Bible Chapel.

The Bible Chapel’s program is provided by Food for Life, a Burlington-based non-profit organization that aims “to source and distribute fresh, nutritious food to those in need through community partnerships.”

When you think of a typical food bank, you likely picture boxes of macaroni and cheese, cereal or canned tuna. What makes Food for Life’s services unique is their specialization in fresh food, including produce, meat, dairy products and baked goods.

Food for Life runs a number of food programs in Halton Region at various churches. The food bank we attended is run once a week at Oakridge Bible Chapel. Community members in need are invited to grocery shop for free, no questions asked.

Our group is preparing a communications plan for Food for Life as part of our Strategic Communications class. We wanted to learn first-hand how Food for Life interacts with the community and our experience was eye-opening. It is truly rewarding to do something that helps others and it also gave us a sense of what PR for a non-profit organization is really about.

We began by packing bags of potatoes and lettuce with each group member manning a section of the “store.” Products that day included: yogurt, butter, peppers, bananas, a multitude of pre-packaged salads, cookies and loaves of bread. The selection varies based on what is donated by local grocery stores and restaurants.

Shoppers are selected by lottery to determine their shopping order. They are allowed to take a limited amount from each section to ensure everyone gets a fair share. Shoppers are allowed a second round once everyone has had a turn.

At the end of the day, only a few loaves of bread, some custards and potatoes were left over. About 50 community members shopped at the food bank that day.

To find out more about Food for Life’s services, visit the organization’s website here.

(Photo by Sarah Wolf)

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