Lewiston doctors' food drive helps local food pantries

Edwin J. Viera, Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
·3 min read

Mar. 23—With the world in a state of constant uncertainty, there are many people working to help their local communities throughout the pandemic in any way they can. Dr. Glenda Rose and Dr. Thomas Barba, married chiropractors based in Lewiston, are two such people. They've helped the community through their annual charity fod drive, Doctor's with a Heart Day, typically held the Saturday before Valentine's Day.

Rose said the food drive started in 1990 and she has participated every year. She had a patient who was involved in the Niagara Community Action Program, Inc. (NiaCAP) and said around Valentine's Day each year, food pantries are low on supplies. Each year, she's exchanged chiropractic adjustments, examinations and nutritional testing for donations of collected food to benefit the food pantry. Taking part in this charity drive, she thought, would be a great way to ensure they can keep helping those who are in need. This year, she collected 964 pounds of food, though that pales in comparison to the large amount received in 2020.

"Last year was a big year, because it was our 30th year and we did I think over 1,800 pound of food this year," Rose said. "(This year) It's a little less but it's still a lot, as food drives go. The Niagara Community Action Program was extremely happy. They bring us decorated bins, those big barrels, every year, decorated for Valentine's Day. Those were full, and there were bags of groceries just all over."

This year, Rose said, plenty of patients got involved and some members of the public came in just to donate food. While she hasn't set a goal, she was hoping to to have a short ton, 2,000 pounds, of food collected this year. In the 30 years, this drive has gone on, she said the most common items she's received are canned goods and cereal. Some of the challenges in doing this have been making sure the weather would be up to snuff, but she felt the pandemic didn't heed her efforts much this year.

One challenge Rose identified was informing people about how to properly take care of themselves during this pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, she has been working to make sure people are aware of their nutrition and cleaning routines to make their environment safer.

Throughout all the time she's done this food drive, the biggest highlight has been seeing people's generosity.

"There have been times when people just bring in whole cases of food for the food drive," Dr. Rose said. "Also, we decorate the office with balloons and banners and Valentine's Day decorations. We give them favors and thank them for coming and everything. It's like a party. It's a really fun, up-tone event and that's something that I really enjoy. Also, giving the patients an opportunity to refer others so they can find out if I can help them with their health conditions."

Suzanne Shears, CEO of NiaCAP, said the dedication of Rose and Barba has been exceptional in helping her agency serve the community. Every year, Rose looks forward to doing this food drive, expressing the same level of enthusiasm she had when it began 31 years ago.