Killaloe food bank bracing for winter rush

KILLALOE – Although it is well stocked now, the Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards food bank is preparing for an influx of users this season.
Isabel O’Reilly, who founded the local food bank 25 years ago when she was principal at St. Andrews Catholic School, said the food bank relies heavily on donations from the community this time of year.
“We basically couldn’t operate with the generosity of the municipality and the people outside of this municipality,” O’Reilly said. “Very often, I get cheques from people who have heard of the food bank and who just want to contribute.”
The food bank started out with O’Reilly and two other volunteers. Now, the organization has more than 20 volunteers.
Located in St. Andrews Church in a private room in the basement, the food bank is opened the first and third Monday of each month from noon until 2:00 p.m.
“They have given it to us and we don’t pay any rent, heat or hydro,” O’Reilly said. “We are very fortunate. We have a fridge that we were able to buy brand-new a couple years ago. We also have a freezer that was donated to us by Terry McCann years ago when we started the food bank.”
When someone comes in to use the food bank, they are asked to provide their name, address, telephone number and how many people there are in their family. 
This dictates how much food a family can get, O’Reilly said, adding that people are very honest about items they need.
“We serve people in the 757 exchange,” she said. “That’s important to remember because that’s how each food bank serves their list of clients.”
Killaloe’s food bank works with the Madawaska Valley and one in Eganville to ensure there is no overlap in users.
Read more in the December 4, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.