Summer’s on the way, but the season may be anything but fun in the sun for the many users of area food banks.
Food Banks Canada is in the midst of its annual #EveryPlateFull campaign, which serves as the country’s largest food drive and aims to inspire communities to fill the plates of every Canadian this summer.
It’s an initiative Dundas County’s two key food agencies — Community Food Share and the House of Lazarus — have been on board with for some time.
The food share (still known by many as Dundas County Food Bank), with centralized outlets in Winchester and Morrisburg, and pop-up spots in Crysler and Finch has seen its usage rates climb steadily in recent years.
An increased number of clients from those North Stormont communities led to the opening of the satellite sites, as well as the charity’s name change.
There has also been an increased focus on fundraising and food generation in order to bridge the gap between a flurry of fall and winter donations, and a steep drop off in the summer months.
It’s a similar scenario for the Mountain-based House of Lazarus, which seems to be constantly in fundraising mode in order to keep its food bank shelves stocked at an optimal level.
There was also startling information found in a recent survey of food bank clients, with upwards of 40 per cent of respondents admitting a proper meal is hard to come by for many of them.
This led to the launch of the “Dinner on the House” initiative.
Those in need can attend the meal at Knox Presbyterian Church in Mountain every Thursday. It costs nothing, and the volunteers making it happen will ensure no one goes home hungry.
The ecumenical mission is also reaping the rewards from its recent market day in the park in Mountain. More than $3,000 was generated for the House of Lazarus’ part in the #EveryPlateFull campaign.
This weekend, meanwhile, Community Food Share volunteers will be out collecting the paper bags dropped off last Saturday. It’s part of the agency’s second annual Fill-A-Bag Food Drive, which has set an ambitious goal of passing last year’s total.
In 2016, more than 13,000 pounds of food was collected from area residents for area residents.
It’s the basics, like school snacks, peanut butter and canned fruits and vegetables, that have been requested, because it is these items that are easiest to distribute.
In this rural area, food shortage is something that is easy to be unaware of or ignore all together. It’s less “in your face” than it is in urban areas, but it’s prevalent and all-too-real for many.
If you can, give — some extra groceries go long way.
Help make the summer a little brighter for everyone.