Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) District 7 firefighters have presented a $14,000 cheque to the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre (OCCRC).
The money is in addition to the nearly 18,000 non-perishable food items collected throughout their annual December food drive.
The haul, which was collected during a one-day grocery store blitz in early December, was presented to the food bank on Monday, Jan. 30.
OFS Lt. Denis Charbonneau told The Sam Laprade Show on Jan. 31, firefighters fan out to Orléans grocery stores to collect donations, and that they are always so amazed at the generosity of patrons.
"It really puts a smile on their faces," Charbonneau said.
Charbonneau adds that the holiday food drive has been happening for over 20 years now, and in that time, firefighters has helped raise close to $60,000 and more than 1.5-million food items for the OCCRC.
"Thank you to the Orléans and surrounding area community that supports and donates to our annual firefighter food drive and to the volunteer firefighters that come out with their families to help for the day -- THANK YOU."
Meantime, the communication and fund development coordinator for the OCCRC tells CityNews Ottawa that food drives like this are more important than ever before.
"Year after year, our centre is incredibly grateful for the support from the Ottawa Fire Services, District 7 firefighters," said Chad Chartrand. "Thanks to their support, they've helped many individuals, families and children in our community."
He said the OCCRC supported 1,258 individuals in December of 2022, comprised of 351 families and 607 children, and those numbers are expected to rise.
"Since last year, our centre has seen an unprecedented increase of over 134 individuals and an average of 774 individuals per month coming to our food bank because they are living with food insecurity."
He adds that due to the increased cost of living and food prices due to inflation, the number of clients coming to the food bank has not yet plateaued - it is still growing.
"We expect that 2023 will be another challenging year for many experiencing food insecurity in our community."
Listen to the full interview with Denis Charbonneau below: