From left: Flamborough Food Bank Managing Director Gail Bosma, Michael and Michelle Schmidt of Stuffed. display product in the storage area of the food bank. The food company will host an upcoming Easter Bazaar at Marian Hall in Freelton on Sat., Mar. 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in support of the Carlisle-based food bank. – Julia Lovett/Metroland

An Easter Bazaar of tasty proportions will be hopping its way to Freelton in only a couple of weeks.

The event, hosted by Stuffed, a food company that specializes in handmade perogies, will be in support of the Flamborough Food Bank and will take place at Marian Hall at 79 Freelton Rd. on Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We were looking for a charity to support and we thought the Flamborough Food Bank is good, ties in to our food connection as well,” said Michelle Schmidt of Stuffed, whose brother Michael owns and works as the executive chef.

 “Any support we can get in the community is greatly appreciated,” said Gail Bosma, Managing Director of the Flamborough Food Bank.

“We’ll be there and help out wherever we can,” she added.

To help pay for the rental space and make a donation, the food company opened the bazaar up to other vendors and, along with hot meals such as soups, cabbage rolls and perogies, there will also be other goodies available.

According to Bosma, the food bank is always looking for donations and the need continues to grow every year. Some items they always seem to be in short supply of included canned fruit, nutritious snacks for kids, stew, chili, canned meat, deodorant, soap, shampoo, jam, jelly and toothpaste.

“We have about 140 registered client families and that is about 236 individuals that we serve,” said Bosma.

She explained that while Waterdown is seen as an affluent community, that perception is a facade. The reality, she said, is quite different.

“A lot of people are on social assistance, either Ontario Works or ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program),” she said.

According to the director, while they are being given financial help, it is not enough to cover the basic needs. She said some don’t even receive enough to cover monthly rent let alone utilities or groceries.

“If you’re on disability, you have health issues so you need more medication, you need a different type of food,” she said, noting that some clients are gluten-free or lactose intolerant.

To help keep the bazaar hopping, the Easter Bunny will visit to hand out goodies to the younger community members. There will also be face painting and balloon animals. It will be a day of eating and shopping and supporting the community.

“A lot of the ones participating in the event are actually small businesses,” said Schmidt, noting that the vendors are all entrepreneurs and trying to build up business.

“It’s people in the community, there’s a lot that are from Waterdown, Flamborough and Hamilton that are going to be attending. (We’re) trying to support local that way,” she added.

According to Bosma, events such as the bazaar help to bring awareness to social issues and organizations that rely on donations to support the communities they are in. Not only does the food bank help people by providing meals and other necessities but they are also there for emotional support as well.

“We do so much hugging here, you wouldn’t believe, and they’ll come up and they’ll reach their arm out and, you know automatically, what they want, or they have a look in their eye or they want to cry or they want to tell their stories,” she said.

The event is free, however, the hosts ask that people make a donation.

“There’s a lot of need in this community and it’s not visible,” added Bosma.

by Julia Lovett