Many food banks in the Guelph area are seeing more clients and fewer food items available for needy families.
That includes the Guelph Student Food Bank at the University of Guelph.
“We’re lucky to receive a levy from the students at the university,” said co-ordinator Alannah Wyllie. “We are able to purchase produce items and some items that other food banks are not able to. But we still struggle with a lack of funding, with food prices skyrocketing, and the need for our service growing every month.”
The Guelph Food Bank has also been hit hard recently and is struggling to keep up with the demand. As of Monday, it’s collected 13,000 pounds of non-perishable food items in its fall food drive. Its goal is 90,000 pounds by Oct. 16.
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“With the centralization project so far this year, we’ve basically seen a 63 per cent increase by the end of August compared to the year prior in the amount of food that we’ve been distributing in the community, and an average increase of 47 per cent in unique individuals being served,” said food bank administrator Pauline Cripps. “With the way food prices are going up, the cost of living is going up, inflation, people are being affected all over.”
Wyllie said the Guelph Student Food Bank has “enough food to go around,” but “most of our items like chicken, eggs and produce, they run of it by the end of the day.”
The Guelph Student Food Bank recently established a waiting list for those looking to use the service.
“In the summer, we had about 90 people on the wait-list,” said Wyllie. “In September, we changed our appointment schedule around, allowing people to drop in every other week instead of every week. So we were able to take everyone from that wait-list. But we’ve reached capacity again.”
Wyllie says in the short term, they will continue to apply for grants and solicit donations with the long-term goal of how to deal with food security without relying on food banks.
“We do everything we can but we operate out of a small space,” said Wyllie. “We have a small staff and do what we can. But we cannot fix the issue of food insecurity.”
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