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Cpl. Kirk Kreitzer, CFB Borden fundraising for David Busby Street Centre

Lance Holdforth

By Lance Holdforth, Special to QMI Agency

CFB Borden Angus gates, west of Barrie. (EXAMINER FILE)

CFB Borden Angus gates, west of Barrie. (EXAMINER FILE)

Canadian Forces Cpl. Kirk Kreitzer is answering the call of duty by representing CFB Borden in the fight to feed Barrie’s needy.

Kreitzer is kicking off Operation Uniform Lunch and the David Busby Street Centre Benefit on April 2 by trying to raise money to purchase more than 100 box-lunches from the military to feed visitors at the centre.

“We’re going to be standing out side Tim Hortons here on CFB Borden (on Thursday) with volunteers doing a boot drive to collect money,” he said. “From there we’re going to take the money and buy what’s called box-lunches from the military and then on April 2 we’re going to be in front of the Busby Centre and distribute about 140 lunches.”

The idea to support the city’s needy came to Kreitzer after volunteering with the United Way as a CFB Borden sponsor employee and seeing the benefits of community involvement first-hand.

“I didn’t know what to expect with the United Way. When they asked for volunteers I had no idea,” he said. “I got to meet some people who work at the Busby centre and I’ve never been homeless and I don’t know anyone who has. It’s something that really connected with me.”

The Busby centre helps the city’s needy by offering outreach assistance, provide medical care and maintain programs at the daily drop-in centre.

Catherine Johnson, resource development at Busby centre, said Kreitzer was quick to dedicate his time to the city’s needy, and has made a lasting impression on centre staff and clients.

“Cpl. Kirk Kreitzer came to the David Busby Street Centre during the United Way campaign to learn more about our services,” Johnson said. “Since the day of his first visit, Cpl. Kreitzer has been to the centre several times to offer donations and discuss his idea to initiate a campaign to engage uniformed services to prepare and serve lunches for the community members at the Busby Centre.”

The goal is to raise $1,788 to purchase lunches, valued around $10 each, and help make the campaign a success while filling some bellies.

Each lunch is made on base and consists of two sandwiches, usually white and whole wheat bread with ham and cheese, tuna or salmon, fruit, milk, cookies vegetable sticks with ranch dressing and a juice box, and is “a good sized lunch”, Kreitzer said.

Because being in uniform is an essential aspect to the project, Kreitzer reached out to Simcoe County paramedics, firefighters and Barrie police who have shown a great deal of interest in the operation, Kreitzer said.

“I’ve been trying to get them (emergency services) involved. It ‘s called the uniform lunch so I wanted to see if they were interested,” he said. “The Barrie police chief (Mark Neelin) said they were interested in coming with us on our day, but I have to verify a couple more things with them.”

Although a few details need to be ironed out, Neelin said the program is a great way to partner with the Canadian Forces while giving back to the community in a nurturing way.

“Cpl. Kreitzer called me with the idea of doing the operation uniform lunch for the Busby Centre. We work in concert with the folks at the Busby Centre and have our presence in the downtown,” Neelin said. “While we still need to work out the details we thought it would be a good opportunity to partner with the military in this project.”

Sara Peddle with the Busby centre said Kreitzer’s generosity hasn’t gone unnoticed, and in fact, it should be seen as an inspiration for others to get involved.

“It is an honour to have people like Cpl. Kirk Kreitzer supporting the efforts of our centre. He came to visit our centre and saw first-hand the work we are doing in the community and the people we are empowering.” she said. “The inspiration is the amazing resiliency of the people who access our services.”

The boot drive on base will be broken up into two shifts from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and again from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but the overall goal is to distribute food at the centre every Tuesday throughout April.

“We always welcome groups who are interested in preparing and serving lunches in support of our community members. This provides another meal option for the visitors to the centre,” Johnson said. “The groups are always welcomed with open arms, smiles and great gratitude for taking time out of their busy days to prepare a heartfelt meal.”

By getting involved, Neelin said everyone gets a a sense of community hospitality, but the ones who need it most are the ones who really benefit.

“We continue to partner with a number of agencies and groups in the city. Many of our members give up their time to help where they can,” Neelin said. “Policing involves people, and building relationships with various groups and communities is important to ensure the best level of police service.”

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