Lately, it is impossible to ignore the impact of inflation. From the grocery store to the gas pump, the cost of everything has risen significantly. Not surprisingly, these increases are also reflected in the number of Canadians using food banks. In fact, Statistics Canada reports that, as these rising costs continue, as many as one in five Canadians will need help from a community food bank in the next six months.
Our own food bank, the Meaford Food Bank and Outreach (MFBO), has certainly seen an increase in the number of residents looking for support. Families with young children, seniors, people with disabilities, and new Canadians are turning to the Food Bank for assistance.
The MFBO is a volunteer-run organization. There is a Board of Directors, as well as front line volunteers who meet weekly with visitors to the Food Bank. There is one paid staff – a coordinator, who manages the registration of users, coordinates the volunteers, and maintains data and reports. The MFBO is affiliated with Feed Ontario and Food Banks of Canada and abide by their Members Standard of Care.
The Food Bank operates from the basement of the Church of the Nazarene on Trowbridge Street. Twice a week, it is open for visitors, most of whom will have made appointments.
A volunteer assists each visitor one by one with their shopping, allowing them choices of available items from various categories – canned and non-perishable goods, some fresh and frozen food, and personal hygiene items and diapers are also available. There are even snack kits for school-age children, which are so important during school hours.
The Food Bank relies on donations from individuals and also the generosity of community partners such as the Independent grocery store, the Rotary and other local businesses. It is a wonderful example of the power of the community helping care for their own.
At this time, the MFBO is looking for committed community members to join the Board of Directors. Board members attend a monthly meeting, as well as occasional participation on Food Bank events or special committees. Going forward in this post-pandemic world with so much economic uncertainty, they are looking for dynamic, forward-thinking persons with either business or volunteer backgrounds, concerned about issues of food insecurity and hunger.
If you have a few extra hours a month and are willing to roll up your sleeves and help solve the problem of food insecurity in our community, please visit their website at www.meafordfoodbankandoutreach.org for more information and to apply before September 9.
Submitted by Beth Ryan Aitken