Three local business owners partnered last week to donate $750 to the House of Lazarus’ (HOL) Operation Backpack, a program where the House of Lazarus partners with local schools to provide bags of food to children in need to take home with them on Friday, to make sure they have adequate nutrition over the weekend. Children receive a backpack filled with food like fresh produce, milk, granola bars, fruit cups, canned meats, pastas and soups. “We worked with a dietitian so what we put in there is high in protein and high in fibre,” says HOL Executive Director Cathy Ashby.
Owner of Westerra Homes, Robert Noseworthy, who spearheaded the donation, says they have been supporting the HOL for a number of years because of the great work they do in the community. He took out an advertisement in the North Grenville Times to recognize all the businesses that support Westerra Homes and asked each of them to pay $25 for their logo in the paper, with any extra money received going towards Operation Backpack. Dan Morey from Morey Associates Ltd. Consulting Engineers, and Eric Monkman of Monkman Forming Ltd., paid $225 over the cost of the advertisement and Robert donated $300 from Westerra Homes.
Robert says he felt drawn to support Operation Backpack because of his own experience growing up in a very poor family. “I remember having to collect bags of carrots that were half spoiled from a wholesaler,” he said. “We always had food on the table; but it was minimal. When Operation Backpack came into my awareness last year, it was like – I’m supporting this.”
Cathy says they are extremely grateful for the donation to HOL’s Back- pack program, especially because they are expecting to see the need rise in the coming months. “Feed Ontario is anticipating that by the spring, there will be a surge in food bank recipients,” she says. They also have some concerns that if schools aren’t offering breakfast and nutrition programs this year, they might see an increased need in the fall and through the winter. “Families are in need and we have concerns that, with the pandemic, there may be greater needs in the next three to six months, so we’re very happy to receive these funds”.