Rotaract feeds hungry families

Newly-formed organization nears goal of 2,500 meals

Left-right: Peace River Rotaract vice-president Jackson Shannon, PRR secretary Kristen Damer, Meals for Months corporate sponsor Darren Southwick of Northern Metalic, PRR president Rylee Armstrong, PRR treasurer Jake Southwick, and PRR fundraising director Angelica Alberto.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The new Peace River Rotaract Club is stepping up to make sure people don’t go hungry during the oil price downturn and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Peace River Rotaract Club is a new action club in the Peace River community consisting of motivated individuals wanting nothing more than to better our hometown,” says first president Rylee Armstrong.

“Through event organization, community- minded initiatives, and volunteering, we are people with the common goal of making Peace River a home to be proud of.”

The new executive is a who’s who of the next generation of involved Peace River community members, with vice-president Jackson Shannon, treasurer Jake Southwick, secretary Kristen Damer, and director of fundraising and events Angelica Alberto all bringing their own enthusiasm and drive to make a difference to the club.

The group was founded at the end of March. Armstrong says they have hit the ground running with the launch of two projects, Pick Up the Peace and Meals for Months.

Group members have been helping pick up trash and debris in the area and challenging other community members to help through a social media campaign.

Here’s how it works, according to Armstrong:

  1. Find littered areas throughout our community. Downtown, Northend, Southend, parks, trails, residential, commercial and industrial neighbourhoods.
  2. Take before and after photos or time-lapse videos picking up the Peace and post it up on social media using #pickupthepeace.
  3. CHALLENGE three people to join the mission. Post your photo and tag them. Armstrong says people should remember to be safe by bringing gloves, washing their hands and remembering to social distance.

“Our goal for this project is to clean up the Peace Region and take pride in our hometown through community and initiative,” Armstrong says.

Peace River Rotaract is also supporting the Salvation Army Foodbank.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession quickly looming, now is the best time more than ever to support our neighbours in need. Our local food bank feeds more than 150 families per month, and we wanted to do our part to help out,” Armstrong says.

Rotaract’s goal is to purchase at least 2,500 meals to feed hungry local families for months.

Community members can support the meal drive by ordering meals online. Rotaract has set up an interactive online grocery store where people can choose to purchase a Family Supper, a Lunch for Learning, or other meals tailored to help the community.

Once meals are purchased, the club will buy the actual food from Freson Bros. to bring to the Salvation Army.

“We decided that a hands-off food drive was the best way to keep our members and community safe while still raising donations. Shopping online with Interac eTransfer is a dynamic, interactive way for people to donate from the safety of their homes,” Armstrong says.

Major donations to the meal drive have come from Freson Bros who donated $2,500 or 500 meals, Mighty Peace Chevrolet Buick GMC who donated $1,000 or 200 meals, as well as donations from Blue Ice Mechanical, Northern Metalic, and BlueDot Convenience Stores among others.

At press time, the campaign was just short of its goal with 2,125 meals out of 2,500 purchased, or almost $12,000 raised.

“We are thrilled to announce that we are so close!” Armstrong says.

“Once we meet and hopefully exceed our goal, we will be preparing the hampers and delivering to the Salvation Army Foodbank in Peace River.”

Armstrong says to watch Peace River Rotaract’s new Facebook page for more community projects coming in the summer of 2020.

“If people are interested in becoming a member, we would love to have you!” she says.

People can fill out a membership form on the Rotaract website or send a Facebook message to find out how to join.

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