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Reverend George Critchell has come up with a unique idea for Lent this year that is designed to help others. – SUBMITTED


PORT AUX BASQUES – If you struggle with giving something up for Lent each year, you’re not alone. Reverend George Critchell says he struggles too.

“Normally I give up something for Lent and that’s not always that easy to do. Most people get half way through it, or they’re a quarter way through it and they throw it all down,” says Critchell. “I usually try to give up chocolate but I don’t very often succeed. I always yield to temptation when it comes to chocolate.”

Rather than do without and fall by the wayside, Critchell came up with a Food Bank challenge instead. Instead of fasting or doing without chocolate or any treat, he has challenged himself and everyone he knows to place one food item in a box every day for 40 days. At the end of the 40 days, the boxes are to be donated to the local Food Bank. This way there’s also a sense of accomplishment for those participating.

“This is not something that’s going to try anybody other than trying to remember to drop your food item in, so I thought well maybe that’s a good thing to do.”

Lt. Maurice Collins with the Salvation Army, which administers the region’s food bank, found out about the challenge through social media.

“I think it is wonderful. It is great to see the kindness of this coast,” says Collins.

Collins also admitted that demand for the area’s food bank remains higher than normal.

“We are seeing people who have been laid off because of the level 5 lockdown,” admits Collins. “Demand has been high this week.”

Currently the Salvation Army’s Food Bank is available by appointment only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Anyone wishing to contact the Food Bank are asked to call (709) 695-7153.

Critchell says the demand for extra help is everywhere these days. But thankfully the challenge appears to be catching on elsewhere around the province too.

Although he hails from this region and was here for a short visit recently, Rev. Critchell is actively ministering in Baie Verte. The large food bank there is community run, rather than through a church or the Salvation Army, and Critchell says the community immediately jumped on board.

“I was talking to the people back there. They all have it started too,” says Critchell. “I expect they will do quite well.”

Even some of Critchell’s contacts outside of Newfoundland are signing on to the #FoodBankChallenge.

“It’s going over very, very well I must say. Actually I’ve even noticed some of names of people I know in Ontario who have started,” says Critchell. “This is one way we can help everybody and not have to really hurt ourselves to do it.”

Collins says the Port aux Basques food bank is currently running quite low on teabags, canned milk, sugar and canned soups, particularly tomato and vegetable soups. Anyone wishing to drop off food items to help out can ring the doorbell on Tuesday or Thursday morning to have their donations collected.

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