In just a few days, a large truckload of food from Prince Edward Island will be back at the Glace Bay Food Bank for what has become an annual tradition of holiday giving.
When Keith Roberts arrives on Tuesday, it will be the third straight year he has driven from one island to another with donated food.
This time, the need might be greater than ever due to inflation, record-high grocery prices, and the impacts from post-tropical storm Fiona.
Mickey McNeil is Roberts’ main point of contact once he arrives in Cape Breton. He says he’s seen the need first-hand during visits to the food bank.
“The line catches your eye, huh?” McNeil said. “They’re just constantly going up the stairs, getting their groceries. The line doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to end.”
McNeil has also seen the impact on people’s ability to give. Earlier this fall, his annual milk drive was down compared to other years.
“Instead of people being able to give a case of milk, they were looking for a case of milk,” he said.
A week after the big food bank drop-off, it will be Giving Tuesday. Each year, the United Way of Cape Breton shines a spotlight on local businesses who give. But this year, they are upping the ante.
On Nov. 29, they’re asking anyone who is in the position to donate to do so and consider it a Christmas present in the form of a good deed.
“Well, for the first time, we’ll be asking for donations,” said executive director Lynne McCarron. “I am looking to those who are saying, ‘I just don’t know what to get that person, they have everything. ‘ Why not a donation? Why not donate to help somebody?”
Back at his home in Dominion, NS, McNeil says his friend’s truck full of food is made possible once again by generous donors on PEI who supply bags of potatoes and cans of milk by the hundreds, along with hundreds of kilograms of turnip and carrots.
The Glace Bay High School boy’s hockey team will also be back this year to help unload everything.
“One island is helping the other island,” McNeil said. “They are so awesome to do this, and it has grown.”