Chief Fire Officers Association food drive underway


The Chief Fire Officers Association of Leeds and Grenville is undertaking a new initiative this year, inspired by past work by individual fire departments. The association is hosting a food drive, which began on February 1 and will run until February 11. The aim of the food drive is to combat hunger this winter in Leeds and Grenville. 

John R. Okum is the North Grenville Fire Chief and president of the Chief Fire Officers Association of Leeds and Grenville. He explained why the Association has taken on this important initiative. “Emergency responders often bear witness to some of the endured struggles in our community,” he said. “The need to support food banks has become increasingly apparent, as a commonly reported condition.” Chief Okum explained that the current initiative is being run as a partnership in conjunction with local food banks, calling it a “united approach”. Chief Okum credited local food banks for the work they do in coordinating food drives, and added that this partnership between the Chief Fire Officers Association and the food banks is just the Association’s way of offering a helping hand. “The credit goes to the community,” said Chief Okum. “They are the ones who are gracious in their donations to help out fellow citizens.”

Many communities have residents who are currently experiencing food insecurity, and Chief Okum noted that the Leeds and Grenville area is not immune to this problem. Winter months can be more financially difficult for many families, and it has recently been reported that food banks are seeing upwards of a 40% increase in usage. Many of those accessing food banks, including locally, are first time users who are new to the plight of not having enough to eat. 

While individual fire departments have aided in local food bank programs in the past, Chief Okum explained that the Chief Fire Officers Association of Leeds and Grenville is a rebranded group of senior fire officials with a goal to work together on key projects in the local communities, including the greater protection of life, property, and the environment. The current food drive is a first for the Association. “We are taking united steps together to fight hunger in Leeds and Grenville,” added Chief Okum. 

Anyone can join the effort to help combat hunger in Leeds and Grenville by stopping by your local fire department to drop off non-perishable food items or a monetary donation. Let’s fight hunger together!



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