REALTORS Care® Days   |   2024

Woodstock Ingersoll Tillsonburg and Area Association of REALTORS® Supply Local Food Banks Through Toughest Months


More than 200 volunteers hit the streets of Oxford County, Ontario, on May 1, collecting and delivering thousands of pounds of food to local Salvation Army food banks to support community members in need.

Woodstock Ingersoll & Tillsonburg Area Association of REALTORS® logo
In support of: The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army

With many Canadians struggling with the rising cost of living, more and more community members are turning to food banks for a helping hand. Thanks to REALTORS® with the Woodstock Ingersoll Tillsonburg and Area Association of REALTORS® (WITAAR), Salvation Army food banks in Oxford County will have their shelves and fridges stocked to meet this growing need.

On the first Wednesday of every May since 2011, WITAAR has hosted their annual REALTORS Care® Food Drive in support of the Salvation Army. In the weeks leading up to the food drive, communities across Oxford County are split into routes that are then assigned to REALTOR® and community volunteers. Volunteers then drop off door hangers along their routes to inform their neighbours of the upcoming REALTORS Care® Food Drive, as well as of the current needs of the food bank. Then, on the big day, volunteers return to their routes to collect the donations that community members have left out on their front steps.

“As REALTORS® I think we see first-hand how people are struggling in our community, with rising food costs, rising housing costs, how hard it is to get into the market and the barriers to that,” said WITAAR President-Elect, Cassandra Benard. “So the food drive is so important to us to acknowledge that but also to kind of uplift people when we have the opportunity to do so.”

The food drive, which was founded by Canadian REALTORS Care® Award 2024 recipient Kelly Byers, continues to grow each year. The 2024 iteration collected 38,000 pounds of food and had routes across Woodstock, Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Sweaburg, Innerkip, and Embro. Since its inception, the REALTORS Care® Food Drive has provided more than 288,000 pounds of food to Salvation Army food banks in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg.

“It feels amazing to see the food drive grow into this massive event every year,” said Byers, a REALTOR® and Salesperson with RE/MAX a-b Realty. “We have more volunteers than we’ve ever had before.”

“It feels amazing to see the food drive grow into this massive event every year. We have more volunteers than we’ve ever had before.”

The timing of the REALTORS Care® Food Drive is very purposeful. With food banks busiest times for donations coming around the holiday season, as the calendar shifts closer to summer, their shelves tend to be at their emptiest. The 38,000 pounds of food received will ensure that Oxford County’s Salvation Army food banks can provide for those struggling with food security and rising living expenses until the busy holiday season later this year.

“It’s a wonderful thing, this is my favourite food drive,” said Jennifer Schafrick, Community and Housing Services Worker at the Salvation Army Woodstock. “It’s very easy for donors to donate, because they can just put it out front, it’s very convenient.”

Outside of the REALTORS Care® Food Drive, WITAAR supports communities through several initiatives, including blood drives in support of Kelly Byers, secondary school bursaries, charitable brokerage competitions and their annual Christmas Toy Drive.

REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Bakes Love into Every Bite at Ronald McDonald House
Waterloo Region Association of REALTORS® Create Care Packages and Raise Funds for Local Youth Facing Homelessness