‘Stuff a Cruiser’ tops last year’s total

Heather Latter

Volunteers helping out with the local OPP’s “Stuff a Cruiser” campaign on Saturday were kept busy as community members stepped up once again, filling a total of 20 cruisers with donations of non-perishable food items.
Cruisers were located at Walmart, Safeway, and The Place here in Fort Frances, as well as Cloverleaf in Emo, with donations going towards supporting the programs run by the local Salvation Army, the United Native Friendship Centre, Sunset Country Métis, the Emo Food Bank, and the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau for its annual community Christmas dinner.
“What a phenomenal event,” enthused OPP Cst. Anne McCoy, citing this was the second “Stuff a Cruiser” event in Rainy River District this year.
Atikokan residents stuffed seven cruisers back on Nov. 26, bringing the district’s grand total to 27 cruisers.
Last year’s inaugural event saw 13 cruisers filled in Fort Frances and Emo—and Cst. McCoy is thrilled to have exceeded that amount this year.
“We have a very generous district,” she remarked. “This year we all came together to help so many organizations load up their food banks to assist families in need.”
Cst. McCoy noted they received all sorts of items, including turkeys, hams, canned goods, cereal, pasta, stuffing, pancake mix and syrup, coffee and tea, toys and diapers, plus so much more.
“I know a lot of the shelves at Safeway, The Place, Cloverleaf, and Walmart [were] a lot lighter [Saturday] evening,” she added.
 And the organizations which use the donations to help those in need were very appreciative of the support.
“I know that the Emo Food Bank is appreciative, and they ‘can’t see the floor of the church,’” noted Cst. McCoy.
“It helps tremendously,” echoed Rachel Spuzak of the UNFC here.
“The need is quite high this year and we received so much stuff it’s up to our ceilings, so it’s great,” she enthused.
“It was extremely successful.”
“It was wonderful for the
community to see the OPP doing a wonderful job for those in need,” agreed Capt. Angel Sandoval, saying the donations from “Stuff a Cruiser” will help the Salvation Army with its annual “Adopt-a-Family” program.
“We are so grateful to be included in this campaign because everything we receive we put into the hampers and try to make a better Christmas for those in need,” he remarked.
Capt. Sandoval indicated they received a large amount of food that had yet to be sorted as of Monday morning, but added the Salvation Army always is in need of support.
He added the local Salvation Army alone serves some 200 district families in need—and thinks this number will remain the same, or even be a little higher, this holiday season.
Still, Capt. Angel said he is very happy and congratulated the OPP on a job well-done.
“Especially to Anne McCoy, who did an excellent job,” he stressed.
“We hope these kind of activities continue for the sake of the community.”
Cst. McCoy thanked all the volunteers, her fellow officers, the community, and everyone who helped to make the second-annual “Stuff a Cruiser” campaign here a success.