Though poverty and hunger are issues that political leaders must address throughout the year, Joe and Janice Policicchio – co-owners of Joe & Janice’s No Frills – are asking shoppers to donate to the local Salvation Army effort to provide food for the Sault’s poor and hungry this Christmas season by sparing a few dollars as they go through the checkout at their Korah Road grocery store.
Joe and Janice contribute to the Salvation Army and other food banks throughout the year, but there’s something extra special about giving at Christmas, Joe told SooToday on Tuesday.
“Out of all the campaigns, this is the one we feel most prone to supporting because of the great need in the community. We want everybody to have something for Christmas,” Joe said.
Joe and Janice said their store’s fundraising goal for the Salvation Army for the 2022 Christmas season is $4,000.
“We’re about 73 per cent there. We’re getting there,” Joe said, with three and a half shopping days left before stores close on Christmas Eve.
Joe & Janice’s No Frills raised $3,500 last year for the Salvation Army.
Though times are tough because of inflation, Joe and Janice are urging people to donate a buck or two at the checkout with their purchases.
Some customers, Janice said, have been donating $20 with their food purchases.
The Policicchio partnership with the Salvation Army is appreciated, said local Salvation Army Major Sean Furey, speaking to SooToday on Tuesday.
“They contribute back to the community. They’re very good to work with. They’re a great commercial partner for us,” Furey said, the Policicchios being faithful suppliers of food items such as bread, eggs and more.
The need to feed the hungry locally is definitely there, Furey said.
“It’s astounding, the number of people in need of food. At the end of this week, we will have put out food for 190,000 meals this year. We’ve distributed about 380,000 pounds of food this year. That’s a lot of meals.”
“Things are tight now for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Housing has gone up. Food has gone up. The cost of transportation has gone up. But there’s not enough of an increase in income, so there’s a lot of people in Sault Ste. Marie who don’t have any wiggle room. In some cases in this city, people are living on less than $50 a month.”
The Salvation Army on Elgin Street serves hundreds of people per day, Furey said, adding that a light day would be 180 clients served.
Despite the pinch, he urged Saultites to put more money into the Joe & Janice’s No Frills effort and into Salvation Army kettles seen around town.