Home Blog August 2021 Moisson Rive-Sud – A Small Distribution Centre with a Mighty Team

Moisson Rive-Sud – A Small Distribution Centre with a Mighty Team

Moisson Rive-Sud – A Small Distribution Centre with a Mighty Team
The pandemic has touched all parts of the world, but the impact will be the harshest on vulnerable populations facing hunger insecurity. With the increase in demands, food banks across the country are feeling the strain.

Dany Hétu, Executive Director at Moisson Rive-Sud shares how his member agencies are feeling. “2020 has been really challenging for us, especially for our agencies, who are on the frontlines helping families struggling to make ends meet. At the beginning, about 55-60 % of the agencies in my network had to close their doors for at least 4-6 weeks, especially because of a lack of volunteers. It’s hard to get help during a pandemic, and managing the flow of a vast amount of food through a small number of food banks is difficult. Some of our food bankers have worked 70-80 hours per week, and they are exhausted. And now after several months, like many of us, there is the mental fatigue”.

Thankfully, they have a team that has their backs. With provincial associations and distribution centers working behind the scenes and pivoting operations, food bankers can keep their focus on helping the clients.

“Moisson Rive-Sud had to completely revisit the way they were operating”, says Dany. “Usually, we have a schedule where on certain days, our agencies can come in and pick up their food. Since most of them were running with only a small number of volunteers, there was not enough staff to pick up the food. So, we had to create a delivery program for at least 30 of our agencies so they wouldn’t have to worry about pickups”. This has worked out well for them. “I am so glad we decided to try out the delivery program. This is something I wanted to try when I first came in, and it is working really well. We will definitely continue with this program, even beyond pandemic life”.

Canadians from coast-to-coast to coast were also behind helping the clients.

“I have said that 2020 has been challenging, but it has also had some positive effects. The recognition from the public and the support really warmed our hearts. We got all kinds of donations, from Food Banks Canada to small businesses, it was incredible”. Smiling warmly, he continues “I always knew that kindness was a big characteristic of Canadians, but this just reaffirmed the fact. We are so grateful for their generosity and their kindness. It just means so much”.

As a distribution centre in a small town, Dany is not used to receiving this amount of recognition from the public, but this has got him thinking about the future.

“When I started at the food bank four years ago, there were only 83 member agencies, and now we have 109. My goal is to serve even more”. To make this happen, Dany says “we need to relocate, because where we are right now is too small and the size of our lot prevents growth. To reach more agencies, we need to move”.

And he knows that no matter where he goes, he will always have the support of Canadians.

“The pandemic really highlighted our role and Canadians have seen this. I am confident that even after the pandemic, they will still be behind us. The pandemic might no longer be part of our life, but hunger will still be an issue, and I think that Canadians know this too”.

The pandemic has not only highlighted the need, but also the fact the food bankers are heroes. To see clients breaking down and sharing their stories of heartaches, and still find ways to not give up hope, it takes strength. Dany shares an experience that reaffirms this.

“I had an incredible experience during the pandemic that affected me. I got a call from the Longueil Police because when everything shut down, there were a lot of homeless people still asking for money at various train stations. Unfortunately, because everything closed, no one was taking the subway anymore, so these folks were without shelter and without food. So, for roughly a week, I went there every day to offer food from the food bank. It was an inspiring experience for me. Their will is inspiring”.

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Hunger Facts

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40%

of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)