• John Jantak

Refundable bottle and can drive raises over $5,000 for La source d’entraide in Saint-Lazare


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Volunteers sort through empty refundable bottles and cans in Saint-Lazare during a fundraising drive initiated by IGA Déziel last Saturday, May 16. More than $5,000 was raised to help La source d’entraide continue to provide food to needy families in the community.

A refundable bottle and can drive held last Saturday, May 16, by the IGA Déziel in Saint-Lazare to raise money for La source d’entraide collected $5,118 which will help the community organization continue to provide food for families in need.

A steady stream of vehicles filled with bags of empty cans and cases of empty beer bottles snaked through the parking lot on Chemin Sainte-Angélique as volunteers unloaded the contents and placed them into one of two large containers.

Helping local families

For the IGA Déziel, it was a way to give back to the community in an effort to ease the difficulty some families are facing due to food shortages caused by recent job losses related to workplace shutdowns that have been in effect since mid-March because of COVID-19.

Francois Ménard, Manager of the Saint-Lazare IGA Déziel, said with grocery stores still unable to accept empty refundable cans and bottles, it was a great opportunity to help people in need. They even donated the additional two cents per empty container they received from Recyc-Québec all for the recycled containers that were collected.

‘Sense of belonging’

Saint-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo, who was on-site helping to unload vehicles, was pleased with the turnout. “It’s a big day. I’m very happy for La source d’entraide,” he said. “All the money raised is exclusively for this organization. The community has come together and are working together. The sense of belonging in Saint-Lazare is completely remarkable and outstanding.”

District 6 municipal Councillor Brian Trainor said he was also impressed with the number of people who heeded the call and brought their empties.

‘Great initiative by IGA Déziel’

“It’s a great cause and initiative by the local IGA to help out the community,” Trainor said. “I’m a regular volunteer at La source d’entraide. I understand what their needs are and I’m always willing to put in a few more hours. I volunteer on a weekly basis. When this event came up it was a natural fit for me to come and help out.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of this event. The needs of Saint-Lazare residents has skyrocketed the last couple of months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are losing their jobs so there’s been a huge increase in the number of families that need food. This is what La source d’entraide does – they help to feed families in need,” said Trainor.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Saint-Lazare Councillor Brian Trainor (left accompanied by Mayor Robert Grimaudo) carries bags of returnable cans during a fundraising drive initiated by IGA Déziel last Saturday, May 16. More than $5,000 was raised to help La source d’entraide continue to provide food to needy families in the community.

Tremendous public response

While Saint-Lazare is perceived as a fairly affluent community, Trainor said there are a lot of less fortunate families and they need food on a regular basis. The food security problem has accelerated since the start of the pandemic with many people losing their jobs, he added.

Trainor also thanked everyone who took the time to deliver their empties. “The response was tremendous from the residents. It’s was non-stop all day. Every dollar will be put to good use to help families.”

Overwhelmed by community support

“We’re so happy,” said La source d’entraide Assistant Director Andrée-Anne Lavigne. “We never expected so much money would be raised. We were hoping for maybe $1,000. The $5,000 will help us tremendously for the rest of the year. We’ll be able to provide food and gift certificates for families in need.”

The organization recorded an 80 per cent increase in the number of requests for assistance from the population during March and April because of job losses and the wait time for receiving federal government Canada Emergency Relief Benefit cheques.

No money since mid-March

“Thanks to the fundraising drive things are sort of back to normal but even before COVID-19 in January and February, there was a 50 per cent increase in requests compared to last year. Our only source of revenue is our thrift shop which has been closed since mid-March so we’ve had no money since then,” said Lavigne.

Lavigne thanked everyone who took the time to donate their empties and said the money should last until their next food collection drive planned for later this year provided it’s able to go ahead without any restrictions because of COVID-19. She also thanked the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges and provincial government for their assistance.

The bottle drive will continue on Saturday, May 23 and Saturday, May 30.

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