THUNDER BAY – A community barbecue at the Regional Food Distribution Association drew steady crowds on Thursday, eager to bite down on a bison burger or drool over a delicious Dewie dog.
The event, which continues until 6 p.m. on Thursday, was staged to raise money for the RFDA, the United Way of Thunder Bay and the Dew Drop Inn.
Albert Brulé, president and CEO of the United Way of Thunder Bay, said the need to fight poverty continues to grow in the city, even more so as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every little bit helps, he added.
“We have for many years been addressing issues of poverty, trying to ensure that people’s basic needs are met and there’s food, shelter and clothing. But because of COVID-19 and the pandemic, the challenges have simply been elevated,” Brulé said.
“It’s a bit of a double-whammy. You have the need increasing at a time when many charities have had challenges not being able to do their regular fundraising events and people maybe being concerned about maybe not being in a position to give if they don’t know about their own personal financial security.”
A barbecue was a great way not only to raise funds, but also raise awareness about the various organizations and sponsors such as Superior Hearing Centre and the Port Arthur Rotary Club.
“This is a really good example of community coming together … coming out to help battle poverty, battle hunger. We’re serving up burgers, we’re serving up hotdogs and Dewie dogs, but the proceeds are going back to fund essential food programs,” Brulé said.
“And there’s even a pay-it-forward option. For people who maybe missed out today, we’re going to be doing another event with the proceeds from today’s pay-it-forward program, to provide hotdogs, hamburgers, meals for kids in need in the Ogden-Simpson area in the coming weeks.”
Brulé said anyone interested in donating can visit the United Way of Thunder Bay website and donate online, indicating they want the proceeds to go toward the barbecue.
“Those proceeds will go to that,” Brulé said.
The event also includes a charity raffle, with prizes including a barbecue donated by Canadian Tire, a Heartbeat fan bundle from Heartbeat Hot Sauce, a leather wine kit from Little Doo’s Farm and a Samsung tablet from TBXI Xerox.
The barbecue is taking place at the RFDA building at 570 Syndicate Avenue South.