Too many Canadians are struggling just to put food on the table, and food bank use continues to hover at record levels according to Hunger Count 2013, a national study released in early November by Food Banks Canada. The report highlights in a typical month, food banks in Canada now provide food to more than three quarters of a million separate individuals – 833,000 – people and nearly 4 of 19 of those helped are children.
“Far too many people are looking into an empty fridge and wondering how they are going to feed themselves and their kids”, said Katherine Schmidt, Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, which coordinated the national study involving more than 4,000 food programs.
The Hunger Count 2013 study found that:
- Each month, 80,000 Canadians are forced to ask for help from a food bank for the first time.
- Nearly 40,000 of those helped each month are seniors with incomes too meager to afford enough food.
- 1 in 6 households assisted by food banks have employment income, yet still can’t make ends meet.
“The inability to obtain enough food, when it is abundant all around us, is physically and psychologically scaring,” continued Schmidt. “It is simply unacceptable in a nation as prosperous as Canada. We are calling on the federal and provincial governments to make real investments in policies that will help reduce the need for food banks.”
A recent initiative by the Ontario provincial government to create a tax credit for farmers donating to food banks is definitely a step in the right direction. The recent amendment to the Local Food Act creates a non-refundable tax credit worth 25% of the current market value the donated agricultural product to farmers who donate to a community food program.
At the Lanark County Food Bank we are well aware of the impact that poverty has on many families in the area. The food bank helps more than 500 people monthly and of those about 36% are children. On average there are approximately 15 new applicants every month.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many supporters and volunteers of the food bank. As we now enter the holiday season our shelves are becoming well stocked and contain a variety of essential food items. Every year at this time the people and businesses of our area show their support by participating in several locally sponsored events.
As a result of our participation in the Carleton Place Halloween Parade this year, over 1000 pounds of food was collected for the food bank. This is an annual event that we participate in each year and our thanks go out to all those who made a food or monetary donation.
Our largest and most successful event of the year, the Build a Mountain Campaign resulted in the collection of over 11,400 pounds of food and over $2000 in donations. This is the fifth consecutive year of the Build a Mountain Campaign and every year we are amazed by the support from our local businesses and the residents of Lanark County. We would like to give a very special thank you to Hugh Colton with Town and Country Chrysler in Smiths Falls for organizing and promoting this event as he has done since the beginning of this annual campaign. James Smith from Lake 88 Radio Station in Perth also helped to get the word out by promoting this event over the air waves.
Several local retailers including; Steve’s Independent, Freshco, Giant Tiger, and Patrice’s Independent supported the Build a Mountain Campaign by putting together pre-packaged grocery bags for shoppers to purchase.
The final food drive of the year will be the Santa Clause parade in Carleton Place on Saturday November 30. We hope that you are able to support us with a food or monetary donation during the parade.
The Lanark County Food Bank receives a great deal of support from many local churches and schools in the area. Our local churches are consistent with their monthly donations of food and money. In addition, we would especially like to thank; Carleton Place High School, JL Couroux School, St. Mary’s school, Notre Dame High School and TR Leger School for their recent successful food drives. These schools were able to collect over 3200 pounds of food.
A final thank you goes out to our many dedicated volunteers who give their time every week to ensure that the food banks provide a valuable service to the community.
The Lanark County Food Bank is located at 5 Allen Street in Carleton Place and we can be reached at 613 257 8546.