Reif Estate Winery and Newark Neighbours are coming together to help those in need by organizing a new “Taste for Hunger” food drive.
Throughout the whole month of March, members of the community can stop by the winery with a non-perishable food donation and get a free tasting of three wines.
“We’re always thinking about giving back to the community,” said Andrea Kaiser, a director of marketing at Reif Winery.
“Being around for 30 years as a winery, we look for ways to provide local support. And we also always look for ways to drive traffic and get visitors to come to visit us in the winter times.”
People can bring any type of non-expired and non-perishable foods. Items like canned meats, chocolate, canned vegetables and fruits, scallop potato mixes, canned pineapples and peaches are also welcome.
The donations will be collected in special barrels. Depending on how much is collected and how successful the drive is, Newark Neighbours will pick up donations every week, said Kaiser.
Newark Neighbours, that’s been operating for 45 years, is the only food bank and thrift store in Niagara-on-the-Lake. They provide food and clothes for people in need and also organize special dinners during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“March is the month before Easter and in the wine industry, it’s a quieter month,” said Hilary Bellis, chair of Newark Neighbours. “So, it was good to bring awareness to our locals.”
Usually, once Christmas is over, the number of donations to the food bank tends to go down.
“That’s why this partnership with the winery at this time of year is helpful because it will start to fill up our shelves again,” said Bellis. “People forget about giving to us the rest of the year.”
“Our shelves at the moment are pretty good, most of them I have stocked,” said Marion Ollerhead, a food bank manager. “And as Hilary said, summertime hits and the donations go down quite considerably.”
However, there are certain people who donate on a regular basis which is “lovely,” added Bellis. “Every little bit helps.”
This is the first year the food drive is happening but it’s not the first time Reif Winery and Newark Neighbours have helped each other out.
“We have donated wine for their volunteer appreciation nights,” said Kaiser.
“When I got to thinking about the idea of a food drive, it just naturally occurred to me to give Hillary a call. We do a lot of donations all across Ontario but we obviously try and stay focused close to home.”
Kaiser said she’s been thinking about organizing a food drive for over a year so working with Newark Neighbours seemed like a “natural partnership.”
Klaus Reif, president and CEO of Reif Estate Winery, told The Lake Report that if the food drive is successful and they get enough support, they will make it an annual event.