MPP Mantha to march for food bank awareness

Michael Mantha MPP for Algoma—Manitoulin. File photo.

Seeking donations of cash or non-perishable items

MINDEMOYA—Last December, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha and his team were so moved by the volunteer efforts of the Manitoulin Food Bank Christmas hamper campaign headquarters at the Mindemoya Missionary Church they decided to get in on the action, coming up with Michael Mantha’s Food Bank March.

On Saturday, May 28, beginning at 9 am at the Billings Township office in Kagawong, the MPP will begin the trek to the Help Centre in Mindemoya, asking people for donations of food, money or company along the way while raising awareness for this much-needed community resource.

Nancy McDermid, Help Centre Program Coordinator, said that following Mr. Mantha helping to pack Christmas hampers last December, she invited him for a tour of the Help Centre where he decided then and there he had to do something to help and so, “he came up with the march,” Ms. McDermid said.

With the walk beginning at 9 am in Kagawong, there will be scheduled stops along the Billings Stretch, at the M’Chigeeng Community Complex and at the Highway 551 public rest stop at Lake Mindemoya where people can come and offer donations or join the walk. Vehicles will also be following along the marchers for those needing to stop and have a rest and people are welcome to walk for as long as they wish.

“We also have Dave Southwood who has volunteered to march while playing the guitar,” she added.

“The goal is to generate awareness about the Food Bank,” Ms. McDermid said.

The Guardian Pharmacies in Little Current and Manitowaning as well as Dean’s Valu-Mart in Gore Bay have also offered to be drop-off points for donations of non-perishable food items that day.

“We’re pleased and excited he’s doing this for us,” Ms. McDermid added.

“It’s all part of giving back,” Mr. Mantha told The Expositor in an interview. “They mentioned that summer is a difficult time for the food bank so I volunteered to do this.”

“I’m looking forward to raising awareness because there are so many people in need on Manitoulin,” he continued. “We sometimes forget the good times; summer months are important too.”

For followers of Mr. Mantha on social media, they will know that he has embarked on a health and fitness regime. When asked if the march was a part of this, he said not directly. “My wife finally nailed it into my head that I need to take care of myself,” the MPP said. “In order to do the very best job I can for the people of Algoma-Manitoulin, I need to be healthy. With a healthier body, I will have a healthier mind.”

Mr. Mantha reiterated that he will be leaving Kagawong at 9 am and encouraged people to walk along with him “for some or all of the day.”

“I also received confirmation from Manitoulin Transport that they will be following along the way to help collect food,” he said.

“I just want to raise awareness,” Mr. Mantha continued. “With prices on everything going up, people are having a harder time making ends meet.”

The march begins at 9 am at the Billings Township office on Saturday, May 28 and will finish at the Help Centre in Mindemoya that afternoon with refreshments. Look for the convoy along the way to add your donations of cash or non-perishable items to the truck or at one of the drop off locations.

For more information, contact Mr. Mantha at 1-800-831-1899 or the Help Centre at 705-377-5532 ext. 242.