‘The need is astronomical’: Annual Glace Bay, N.S. milk drive comes at a crucial time

A Cape Breton man behind a popular milk drive is hoping the generosity of Maritimes will once again shine through in troubled times.

For eight years, Mickey McNeil has been collection donations for the Glace Bay Food Bank, and with the price of just about everything sky-rocketing, he says the demand is greater than ever.

"With the price of groceries, gas and just about everything else people will have to cut corners here and there,” says McNeil.

Last year McNeil's drive to help the food bank took on a life of its own, with nearly 4,000 cans of milk donated.

He also received potatoes, carrots, and a pallet of milk from Prince Edward Island.

"It's just like one island helping another island and it's so nice to have that connection. Bay Ferries waived the cost last year for the gentleman coming over with the load and that was really awesome of them,” says McNeil.

Linda MacRae, coordinator of the Glace Bay Food Bank, says their client list is growing as fast as costs continue to rise.

"Oh Christmas time. We were talking about this the other day and the need is going to be astronomical, the orders that are going to go out,” explained MacRae. "You go to the grocery store to buy milk, it's really expensive and it's an important need for families, it's important for nutrition, especially for children."

The cost of just about everything is going up, as inflation hit 4.4 per cent last month, and gas prices have sky rocketed.

MacRae says some families will be choosing between heating their homes and feeding their families this winter.

"Our need is great and with the price of everything we're still hoping people will be able to donate because they're so generous, but with the cost of groceries we're hoping it doesn't scare people away,” says MacRae.

Back at the rink, McNeil is hoping this table will soon be filled with canned milk - and hopes he can beat last year's goal of more than $9,000 worth of milk and monetary donations collected.

"I'm hoping that the generosity is still there. Cape Bretoners always seem to stick together. We get a lot of e-transfers from Ottawa, Vancouver, fellow Capers,” says McNeil.

McNeil's drive will end November 6, in the meantime he's hoping Maritimers will band together for those in need.