It was an emotional ‘mini’ grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Mary Monture on Tuesday, May 10, as she gave a heartfelt speech thanking the community for all its support, donations, time and energy over the years to see the Six Nations Food Bank (SNFB) in its own building.
The SNFB has been operational in its new location since December 2019 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t a good time to announce its grand opening. Now that restrictions have lifted and the community is in the middle of Community Awareness 2022, Monture thought it was time to announce the SNFB’s new permanent location.
“When we moved here in 2019 we were not able to make an official announcement and hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony,” said Monture, chair of the SNFB Board of Directors, adding that the new location is more central and easier for community members to get to on foodservice day.
“It’s great. It’s been a long time coming and we’ve got a lot to thank the community for,” she said. “To see what we have now and be able to provide for the community is very thrilling.”
Linda Doolittle, one of the original founders of the then-named Agape Food Bank, was at the grand opening and cut the ribbon.
Doolittle helped start the very first food bank on Six Nations in the basement of the church she attended at the time, the Six Nations Pentecostal Church, in the ‘80s. She recalled how different it was back then.
“We took over the whole basement of the church and had little alleyways you had to walk through to get anywhere because the boxes of food and other items were stacked so high and we hardly had any space,” she said. “We had people coming from all over like Brantford and Hamilton, not just Six Nations. I’m thankful that we did it and that we stayed committed to the needs of the community. I’m happy.”
Tracy Martin, the SNFB co-ordinator, said she is excited for the community to see what is available and know how to access it.
“I’m excited for everyone to see what is here. When people come on foodservice day it’s drive-thru only. So for people to come today and see the building, what we have available, how to access it — it is so encouraging,” she said.
The SNFB invited guests inside for a small tour of the facility after the ribbon was cut. The Community Awareness 2022 event concluded with cake and a donation announcement of $2,500 from K.L. Martin and Associates Corporation, followed by a second donation of $2,500 from First Nations Engineering Services.