Perhaps this year more than any before, the Scotia Relief Fund is hoping that local businesses will help put food on the table and a few gifts under the tree for local families who are in desperate need.
For more than 70 years, the fund has helped at least 70 families a year, assisting with utilities, groceries and other necessities. This year, the need for help has been so great that Mayor Kris Kastberg and Scotia Relief representatives said they are hoping to at least give families the basics for a decent Christmas.
We provide one-time aid to families in the area who are in need for whatever reason. We, in the past, have been able to give more because we have had fewer families, but this year the demand is so high that our first priority is allowing families to have a good meal on Christmas said Kastberg.
Kastberg said families receive vouchers for food, clothing, diapers, utilities, or whatever essentials they may need. In the past, the organization has offered aid to as many as 100 families in one year, with those families needing help particularly during the holiday season.
"We either hear of families or we receive referrals for those in need. We have area businesses, such as First National Bank of Scotia, that help us with funding as we really rely on these donations," said Kastberg.
Kastberg said new this year they are giving a flat $50 per family as opposed to handing out vouchers based on the number of family members. The change will allow Scotia Relief to reach more families in need.
"This was done to try to stretch our budget since we ran out of money last year. We are obviously expecting a much higher demand this year," said Kastberg.
Gabriel's Market on Mohawk Avenue has helped out with food donations in the past. Art students from Scotia-Glenville High School painted collection boxes that can be found outside of Gabriel's Market and the First National bank of Scotia.