A group of Dryden volunteers have come together to raise over $4,000 for the community, which includes funds for an expansion of the Dryden Food Bank.

Members of the Retired Teachers of Ontario union, RTOERO, say they found themselves with a surplus of money this year due to fewer activities taking place in the community and within the organization due to COVID-19, so donating it back to the community was an easy choice.

“Giving back to our District 35 communities with donations to the local Food Banks was an easy decision to make,” wrote members, in a prepared release.

Donations included:

- $1,500 to the Dryden Food Bank,
- $700 to the Ignace Food Bank,
- $1,000 to the Out of the Cold Shelter in Sioux Lookout,
- $1,000 to Red Lake’s Family Food Bank and Indian Friendship Centre,

Manager of the Dryden Food Bank, Al Huckabay, says they’re planning to expand their current building to help meet the growing demand for their services in the community, with a new warehouse space and a new freezer.

Huckabay notes the Food Bank has seen an increase in donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the cost of food rising, the number of people using the Food Bank is still growing and donations have been slowing down.

Residents are encouraged to donate to the food bank on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The facility has been operating for over 30 years now.

RTOERO is a national organization for retired educators and those working in education, with benefits and insurance, social activities, good will, and works to advocate to improve the lives of members and seniors across Canada.