New Liskeard Salvation Army wins first Ontario Food Bank Innovator Award

    New Liskeard food bank wins with innovative Christmas Hamper Challenge

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ - On June 8th, Nancy Gilmour entered the Dragon's
Den at the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) annual conference to
emerge as the winner of the first ever Food Bank Innovator Award with the
Christmas Hamper Challenge project. OAFB members were invited to present an
innovative project or activity in a contest inspired by the Dragon's Den
television series in order to encourage the sharing of best practices amongst
food banks across the province.
    Ms. Gilmour, Family Services Worker with the New Liskeard Salvation Army
Food Bank in Northeastern Ontario had only three minutes to present to a panel
of food bank "Dragons" and over 50 conference participants. But she came out
on top, ahead of five other outstanding contestants from Ailsa Craig, Grimsby,
Orillia, Ottawa, and Sarnia.
    "I signed up because I thought our idea was good, but it was great to
hear ideas and feedback from the other participants," said an enthusiastic Ms.
Gilmour. "This contest is awesome!"
    The Christmas Hamper Challenge started in 2004 to engage local
businesses, schools and individuals in the community to create, decorate and
fill hampers with food for needy families in New Liskeard and surrounding
areas. The evening before the hampers go out, a panel of guest judges picks a
Challenge winner based on creativity and design. The winner receives the "No
Bell Prize" (a bell with the clapper removed) and gets to keep a plaque with
their name on it throughout their winning year. Out of 140 stuffed hampers,
Wabi Iron and Steel won the 2008 "No Bell Prize" with an amazing fire truck
toy box design.
    "They really out-do themselves," Ms. Gilmour said of the local
participants. "Community members helping to fill hampers means that
non-perishables from the food bank can stay on the shelves, helping us get
through the months when donations are low. The New Liskeard Salvation Army
Food Bank serves over 60 people per month and that number is rising."
    The OAFB's Annual Conference was held in early June in Sudbury to unite
Ontario food banks and challenge members with fresh perspectives, creative
thinking and practical ideas to endure tough economic times. The Ottawa Food
Bank was the runner-up in the hard-fought Food Bank Innovator contest, with
their Heroes Fighting Hunger Campaign.
    "During tough times, food banks must be innovative to respond to the
growing challenge of hunger in Ontario," said Adam Spence, Executive Director
of the OAFB. "All of the contestants demonstrated a unique and effective way
of doing their work, and we were delighted to present the first award to the
Salvation Army Food Bank in New Liskeard."

    The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 100
food banks across the province from Ottawa to Windsor, and Niagara Falls to
Thunder Bay. Over 350,000 Ontarians are served by food banks every month. If
you would like to find out more about food banks in Ontario, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Adam Spence, Executive Director, OAFB (Primary
Contact), Work: (416) 656-4100, Cell: (416) 543-0897; Nancy Gilmour, Family
Services Worker, New Liskeard Salvation Army Food Bank, (705) 647-1588

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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