It was another successful Food for All on Thursday with CFAM Radio 950, Country 88 and The Eagle 93.5, this time at Gardenland Co-op's food store in Morden in support of the Many Hands Resource Centre's foodbank. 
As of 6 p.m., we'd raised over $4,460 thanks to you, the community, and Co-op continued to take donations throughout the evening. 

Many Hands co-chair, Darcey Wolfe, joined Robyn Wiebe on location at Morden Co-opMany Hands co-chair, Darcey Wolfe, joined Robyn Wiebe on location at Morden Co-op

"We are supported by our community, so I always say we would not exist without our community. We are not a government-funded organization, so we are very appreciative of what the people do for us," said Executive Director, Mariyam Tsygankova, when asked why food drives like this are important for the organization. "And in return, we try to help people who are most in need."

In fact, the foodbank at Many Hands now provides hampers for over 200 families each month. While the total raised is short of the organization's $10,000 goal, Tsygankova says she's completely fine with that.

"I was listening to the radio the whole day today and I was thinking, first of all, my heart was beating faster and faster because all these words which I heard about Many Hands, it is really heartwarming. So, people appreciate what we do. People understand how important our job is...I am immensely proud of the community I call home."

Tsygankova moved to Morden in 2018. 

"Probably, that was the best decision ever because of community," she said. "People are so supportive. People are so community minded. I was to say that each dollar which was donated today is important for us, and it will go to help people who need it. So, thank you so much. Thank you, Golden West. Thank you, Co-op. Thank you everyone who came and donated."

Jakeline Crocetti and her family know firsthand how crucial the foodbank is. For three months after they arrived in Morden, a year-and-a-half ago, they accessed its services.

"Just I have work Visa. My husband, (a) visitor Visa, and he could not work in that time, just me. Because (of) that, we think, how we can handle with everything we need to pay and raise our family?" she explained when she stopped by our booth on Thursday. "And then we get to know about the Many Hands. We went there, we fill out form and they right away help us with some groceries. 

In the beginning, was very help for us, and three months after we came here, we got our PR (permanent residence) and then my husband started work." 

Alberto Crocetti, volunteers Abe and Debbie Koop, and Jakeline Crocetti join Connie BaileyAlberto Crocetti, volunteers Abe and Debbie Koop, and Jakeline Crocetti join Connie Bailey

Since then, Crocetti says she hasn't stopped giving back to the organization, often dropping off a box of food, making a donation at the grocery store or signing up for volunteer duties. 

"We need to think about each other," she said. "I send them my name and my daughter's name because we have free time in summer and they say, yeah they can need the help."

Connie Bailey spoke with Many Hands volunteer, Linda.Connie Bailey spoke with Many Hands volunteer, Linda.

Brendan Froese is the Marketing Manager for Gardenland Co-op.

"We, as Gardenland Co-op, exist because of our community members and we can't do what we do for our community without the support of our members. So, we just would like to thank everybody for coming out to support the Food for All drive with Golden West."

He noted, Many Hands Resource provides a invaluable services to Morden and the surrounding area. 

"Our Pembina Valley region is very unique in the fact that we see community groups come together on a regular basis and support one another, and we just we want to keep that going and we love the support that we see from our local community."

In fact, he said the Co-op is looking forward to the next stop on the Food for All drive. That's at the Winkler food store on Thursday, May 9th. Once again, we'll be broadcasting live on location from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., collecting donations for the Winkler & District Food Cupboard this time around. 

Connie Bailey and Robyn Wiebe live on location Thursday afternoon.Connie Bailey and Robyn Wiebe live on location Thursday afternoon.

With files from Connie Bailey