Nfld. & Labrador

CBC's Feed NL Day raises nearly $75K from donations — so far

Christmas is in the air and the season of giving is upon us, and CBC Newfoundland and Labrador's Feed NL Day is raising money to line the shelves of food banks around the province.

Cash will go directly to food banks across Newfoundland and Labrador

Damien Follett providing the soundtrack for Feed NL Day at the Avalon Mall in St. John's. (John Pike/CBC)

Christmas is in the air and the season of giving is upon us, but local food banks say there is a great need for donations this year.

"Our campaign, I have to be honest, it's probably one of the worst years," said Peter Wells, with the Conception Bay South-Paradise Community Food Bank.

"Right now we have only 15 turkeys and we have 450 hampers to fill. There is some food coming in, but there's nothing substantial."

Wells spoke with the St. John's Morning Show as part of CBC's Feed NL Day, an annual day of fundraising for the Community Food Sharing Association, which supports food banks across the province.

The C.B.S.-Paradise food bank serves 350 families, Wells said, and with just a week and a half before Christmas, he's concerned not all those families will have food on the table.

On Thursday CBC Newfoundland and Labrador raised nearly $75,000 which will go directly to food banks across the province. 

While the one day donation drive is over, people can still contribute to the cause online for the next 19 days. 

"What's coming in we're giving to the larger families first and then just grading them down and hope and pray that something's gonna come in," Wells said.

"It really doesn't feel very good … With the prices of everything up, people have less and less and less to give, and that is a sad reality."

That's a sentiment echoed by Kerri Abbott, chair of the Carbonear Food Bank, who said there are more than 1,000 families who need their services.

Abbott said donations have picked up recently, as they usually do around the lead up to Christmas, but it's still not enough.

"Who do you give the turkey to if you don't have enough? And that is a horrible situation to be in for the volunteers, but also for those families that are looking for a Christmas dinner," she said.

"I dream about grocery shopping now and trying to figure out how to get all the food that we need."

Feed NL Day coverage

The St. John's Morning Show kicked off festivities in the metro region with hometown favourites The Once in studio to pump out their favourite Christmas tunes.

In Grand Falls-Windsor, a crew from CBC Newfoundland Morning were on location at Common Grounds Cafe with live guests and on-air donations, with Fortunate Ones performing live in the Corner Brook studio.

The Kelly-Brinston family stops by Common Grounds Cafe in Grand Falls-Windsor to make a donation with CBC Newfoundland Morning co-host Martin Jones. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

The annual turkey drive is underway in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, as well, with Labrador Morning taking donations during their live radio show.

Last year, the Feed NL campaign raised more than $125,000 to support the Community Food Sharing Association, which suffered a devastating fire in January.

Just two days after the fire, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador handed over $50,000 and the keys to an empty warehouse in St. John's for the organization to operate out of until it got back on its feet.

The provincial government extended its offer to house the CFSA for another year earlier this week.    

There are 56 groups across the province who operate food banks — all gathering their own food for their own communities. But when they run low on food to give away, they turn to the CFSA for help.

"Think of it as a food bank for food banks," wrote the CBC's Zach Goudie, who will be hosting a day of live music entertainment and free gift wrapping at the Avalon Mall in St. John's.

In 2019, there were more than 10,000 visits to food banks across Newfoundland and Labrador, a five per cent increase from the year before.

Warm Hearts campaign details

Feed NL Day is part of the CBC's Warm Hearts campaign, taking place this month across Atlantic Canada, raising money for the region's food banks.

More information about Feed NL Day events and the Warm Hearts campaign is below:

  • To donate online, click here.
  • Join a revolving door of CBC personalities at the Avalon Mall in St. John's from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. as we wrap your Christmas gifts in exchange for a donation to the Community Food Sharing Association.
  • Swing by our studio in Gander any time during the day with a cash donation.
  • CBC Newfoundland Morning will be live from Common Grounds Cafe, where co-host Martin Jones and volunteers will be accepting donations.
  • Our Corner Brook station will be open to donations from 6 a.m. to noon. Visit co-host Bernice Hillier as she hosts CBC Newfoundland Morning
  • Drop by the CBC studio in Happy Valley-Goose Bay between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., where the team will have a fire and hot chocolate.

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