Rolna Pranke and Darcy Baczuk of Caring Communities are preparing for the second annual “Good Buy to Hunger” campaign to help needy families in the community at Easter.

This Friday and Saturday: Caring Communities want to say Good Buy to Hunger

March 14, 2018 11:37 am
Kevin Weedmark

Moosomin’s Caring Communities group is planning to make this Easter a little brighter for families in need.

This Friday and Saturday, shoppers at Borderland Co-op food stores can buy either a $10 breakfast bag or $20 dinner bag, and the proceeds will be used to buy hampers for local families in need.

People who want to help will simply take a $10 or $20 bag to the till and make their donation there.

With the proceeds of the bag sales, Caring Communities will buy food from the Co-op and deliver bags of food to people in need.
Last year the group collected donations for 186 bags of food.

“Last year we actually had bags of food. This year we are going to have on our table a sample of what would be in a $20 bag or a $10 bag so people get the idea, and they just take the empty bag to the till. Afterwards, Rolna and I will pack all of the bags and deliver them to where they need to go,” says Darcy Baczuk, one of the organizers.

Darcy had seen a similar project in another community, which is where the idea came from.

Rolna Pranke, another of the organizers, said she was happy with how the project went last year.

“We sold 186 bags,” she says. “When people saw what we were doing, they were very helpful. Everyone wanted to help.”

“We sold every single bag the Co-op had prepared for us last year,” adds Darcy.

“People were absolutely crazy about helping us.”

Caring Communities has a list of families they want to help and are open to helping more. “If someone were to contact us and say we need help, we want to know that and want to help them,” said Darcy. “We have people in Wapella who have their own community of helpers. They are giving us information as to how many bags they will need. We have contacts in Fleming. They tell us how many people they think are struggling in Fleming right now. We will get the bags to them and they will deliver.”

“In Rocanville, there is a pastor over there and he is handling things up there,” adds Rolna.

Any extra donations not needed for families go to the Moosomin and Rocanville food banks.

The donations provided through Caring Communities are in addition to any support people may be receiving from a local food bank.

“Anybody getting a hamper from the Food Bank will also get a hamper from us and that’s not a bad thing to get two hampers,” said Darcy.
Breakfast bags include pancake mix, pancake syrup, canned fruit and juice crystals.

Dinner bags include rice, pasta, pasta sauce, pudding, canned soup, canned vegetables, and juice crystals.

“We try to keep it simple, and pick things that you don’t need milk or eggs for, because sometimes people don’t have milk or eggs,” says Darcy.
For families with children, there will also be Easter bunnies.

“We have one woman in town who’s just got a huge soft spot for kids and every year she comes with her cheque book and she says ‘you make sure those kids get something special.’ And we do. We have bunnies for everyone again thanks to her.”

Darcy and Rolna hope that they are making a difference for the families they provide food for.

“Providing the food to help with a few meals is one thing, but hopefully they realize when they receive this food that people are supporting them. That is what I’m after,” says Darcy.

“We just want to be able to help lighten the load a bit,” adds Rolna. “If you can help lighten the load, it makes a really big difference for some people. It feels great to be able to help, and it was easy to be able to help last year. People were so supportive. They saw us at the Co-op and asked what we were doing, and as soon as they found out, they were happy to help. If you are in there buying a cart of groceries, what is another $10—and you feel good. It’s not us that makes this work—it’s all the people who are so happy to help. We had such a good response, we could help all those who we knew who needed a little bit of help.”

Darcy says the program will be expanded to include additional seniors.

“Last year we had a few home care clients and this year we’re going to expand that a little bit,” she said. “There are a few seniors we know of who are struggling as well so we will include them as well, so it won’t just be families, it will be single, elderly people.”

“There are some single seniors living on a very fixed income which really doesn’t go very far,” adds Rolna. “We included them at Christmas and we have every intention of including them again now.”

The women say they were impressed by the level of support when they gave “Good Buy To Hunger” a try for the first time last year.

“When we went in there I was like ‘this isn’t going to work—we’re not going to get a hundred bags sold—what are we going to do with all this extra food that’s been bagged.’

“I was fretting, but by 8 pm I think we were down to four bags and by the time the store closed we had sold out 100 bags. But honestly this town is just amazing. People are just so supportive.

“In the whole area everybody is so supportive,” adds Rolna. “This really is a special area—people are so generous and so supportive.”

Darcy says there were a few donations last year that touched her deeply.

“Last year, we had people come in and give who we were thinking should maybe be receiving, but they wanted to give. There was one person in particular, I was in tears—legit tears—because it just warmed me that he wanted to help so.”

“We were completely overwhelmed by the support last year,” says Rolna. “It was wonderful.”

“I never dreamt we would get that many bags,” says Darcy. “My garage was full. I had to sort them all out by town and the garage was completely full—it was a wonderful problem.”

Caring Communities is hoping to get strong support again this year.

How can you help?

Caring Communities will be set up for Good Buy to Hunger at the Borderland Co-op Moosomin Marketplace Foods this Friday, March 16 from 4:30-8 pm and Saturday, March 17 from 9 am-2 pm, and at the Borderland Co-op Rocanville Food Store Saturday, March 17 from 1-4 pm.

Anyone who wants to help but can’t make it out at those times—or anyone with a suggestion of someone who could use help this Easter—can call or text Rolna at 306-435-7343 or Darcy at 306-435-7293, or send a message to the Caring Communities Facebook page.