The local OPP’s “Stuff a Cruiser” campaign is set to return for a second holiday season to help fill the pantries of local organizations which help those in need.
“It helps tremendously,” Rachel Spuzak, with the United Native Friendship Centre here, said about the program that will take place Saturday, Dec.10.
“It gives us the opportunity to help more families that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to help,” she reasoned.
From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. that day, OPP cruisers being located in front of Wal-Mart, Safeway, and The Place here in Fort Frances, as well as Cloverleaf Grocery in Emo, collecting donations of non-perishable food items from the public.
These donations will go towards supporting the programs run by the local Salvation Army, UNFC, Sunset Country Métis, and the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau for the annual community Christmas dinner.
There’s definitely a need within the community, Spuzak stressed.
The UNFC annually “adopts” families and creates Christmas hampers for them—but the number they can help out depends on their budget.
“[‘Stuff a Cruiser’] gives us a lot more opportunity to help more of our clients, and they get more in their hampers, and it alleviates so much more stress on them because we can fill them,” Spuzak reasoned.
“We have a lot of families in need in our community,” agreed Capt. Angel Sandoval, saying the ‘Stuff a Cruiser” campaign is a “wonderful” opportunity for people to support others within the community.
Donations through “Stuff a Cruiser” will help the Salvation Army with its annual “Adopt a Family” program, he noted.
“Last year was successful, the campaign, and helped us to fill the basket that we normally prepare for the public,” Capt. Sandoval added.
“There was a lot of support for those in need. It was good.”
Capt. Sandoval said the local Salvation Army alone serves some 200 families in need—and he thinks this number will remain the same, or even be a little higher, this year.
In related news, Atikokan’s “Stuff a Cruise” is set to run this Saturday (Nov. 26).
The cruisers will be located outside Atikokan Foodland from 3-5 p.m. and the Atikokan Economic Development office from 5-7 p.m.
Donations from this drive will go towards supporting the Atikokan Native Friendship Centre/Ashandiwin food bank, Atikokan Christmas Cheer, and the Faith Lutheran Church food bank.
The economic development office also will be providing free hot chocolate and doughnuts to all those who help out with the program.
The “wish list” includes items such as canned soup (tomato, cream of mushroom, chicken noodle, vegetable), canned vegetables (corn, beans, carrots, peas, tomatoes), canned fruit, baked beans, canned meat (tuna, salmon), turkey, ham, and Kraft Dinner.
Pasta (macaroni, spaghetti), instant potatoes, cereal, peanut butter, jam, tea, coffee, packets of sugar, canned pasta, cranberry sauce, Stove Top stuffing, pancake mix, syrup, powdered milk, and packets of salt and pepper also are sought.