Gail Martin, Independent Editor
The Elmira food bank needs some help.
The summer is traditionally a tough time for the food bank, in part because while donations drop off, the need doesn’t.
“Summer seems to slow down with donations,” said Kelly Christie, director of community supports with Woolwich Community Services, the agency that runs the food bank. “We do get quite low on food, because the spring food drive doesn’t cover us up to the fall food drive.”
This year, however, seems even worse than usual, said Christie.
While donations have dropped off, the demand has remained steady. In June, the agency handed out 65 hampers, helping 188 different people make ends meet. As of press time, 61 hampers had been distributed in the month of July.
Hampers provide enough food for three to five days. A family of four can receive 4 litres of milk, a dozen eggs, one tub of margarine, two loaves of bread, apples, carrots and potatoes, along with canned goods. In June, a total of 88 boxes of cereal were handed out, along with 125 cans of canned meat, 380 cans of soup, and 77 tubes of toothpaste, among other items.
There is also an increase in first-time users of the food bank, said Christie — a combination of young moms moving back to the area, and layoffs that have put those living paycheque to paycheque in a very difficult position.
Christie said that given the ongoing need, it seems that as soon as a donation is put away, it gets handed out in a few short days.
When Elmira Foodland recently held a charity barbecue, the grocery store donated money to the food bank.
Christie said one set of volunteers put the donated items on the shelf, and “it was gone before the next volunteers came.”
The food bank currently needs just about everything, said Christie.
“There are probably six items we have enough of,” said Christie. “Everything else, we don’t have.”
Christie is hopeful some local businesses or organizations will get behind the food bank, by issuing challenges to encourage the community to donate, noting that every little bit of support will help. And, if there are local farmers who are willing to donate turkeys, chicken, beef or pork, Christie said that would also help tremendously.
“If people who can (donate) do, we’ll all be fine,” said Christie.
She also wanted to emphasize that while supplies are low, those in need should still come by for help.
“I’m starting to feel that people are hesitant to use the food bank, and that’s not okay,” said Christie. “I want them, when they read this article, to know they can still come.”
To donate, visit Woolwich Community Services at 73 Arthur St. S., or call 519-669-5139.