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This article was published 12/12/2018 (537 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Brandon organization has scrapped their Secret Santa, instead opting to donate money and food to help feed the less fortunate in Brandon.
Westman Aphasia Inc. donated almost $300 to local soup kitchen Helping Hands Centre of Brandon Inc. on Tuesday. The kitchen helps feed hungry people in the city during the week.
"We knew we wanted to give back to the community," said Brenda Rust, a clinician with Westman Aphasia Inc.
They’d heard good things about Helping Hands, and many current members gave to the organization in the past, Rust said. So, they decided to choose the kitchen as the recipient. The donation was organized by their chief administrative officer, Susan Cable, who also felt that it was important to give back to the community. It moved quickly from there, Rust said.
"The board met back on Nov. 29, so there’s donations here from our board members, our volunteers, our group participants and their family members."
Besides money, they also donated boxes of Kraft dinner, various canned goods and cereal.
It’s donations like this that keep their doors open, said Vandana Jamadagni, co-ordinator at Helping Hands Centre of Brandon Inc..
"We are depending on the community for all kinds of help," Jamadagni said. "Any little donation will help, and will go a long way to helping people."
Everything that you need to cook for one person, times that by at least 200, she said, after accepting the donation from Westman Aphasia Inc. on Tuesday.
They’re regularly feeding more than 200 people a day at their location on Seventh Street. For some people, it could be their only meal of the day.
"It’s very basic, like having one meal a day, one nutritional meal a day, is really much needed," she said.
The need they have for food and supplies like napkins has been increasing every year, she said. In the summer with kids out of school, they did 265 meals regularly.
"Summertime is really hectic for us, and this last summer we saw a really large number of people using the lunch program," she said. "Numbers are climbing."
Thankfully, many of the donations they receive at Christmas time will help carry them through the rest of the year.
"I’m always thankful to the Brandon community for helping us in our whatever needs we have," she said. "Everything comes from the community, and I’m forever grateful for all the community has given to us."
For other members of the community looking to help out, Jamadagni encouraged teachers and parents to bring their kids to the kitchen.
"It’s really an eye-opener for them," she said. "Many kids don’t realize how lucky they are, how kind of well off they are."
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