by Brian McGruther
This year marks the 25th year that the Lanark County Food Bank has provided service to the community. We started operation in October 1988 when a group of concerned Carleton Place residents recognized the problems created by the recession of the 1980s’. The food bank began its operations from the living room of one of the volunteers and with the growth in demand, the food bank moved to a store front on Bridge Street. Later we moved to a new location on Franktown Road, which was occupied until 1997, before moving to its current location on Allen St. The food bank’s catchment area includes the communities of Franktown, Carleton Place, Mississippi Mills (Almonte and former Pakenham and Ramsey Townships), Innisville, Ashton and White Lake.
The Lanark County Food Bank is a non-denominational, non-political organization sustained solely by private donations. It does not receive support from any level of government. The food bank is operated by a volunteer Board of Directors, a paid part time manager and approximately 30 dedicated volunteers who provide front line service to our clients. We currently provide 12 hours of support weekly, spread out over Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings as well as Wednesday afternoon and evening. The food bank also supports the Almonte area with the help of the Hub which offers distribution space once a week for clients without transportation. The Lanark County Food Bank is a registered non-profit charitable organization and a member of the Ontario Association of Food Banks.
The mission of the Lanark County Food Bank is the provision of safe and nutritional food assistance to persons in need. Our goal is to supplement our client’s food requirements on a monthly basis and a typical order includes sufficient food for three or four days. The amount of food is dependent on the number of family members.
The number of people that we help has been increasing every year. On average during 2012, we provided food to over 430 people monthly. The need for our food bank has continued since the late 1980s and the number of clients we help is always increasing. The use of food banks is fairly wide spread across Canada and not unique to our region.
The key to the Lanark County Food Bank’s success over the past 25 years has been the direct result of the tremendous assistance received from our volunteers, donors and supporters. Without the contribution of these stalwart community members we would be unable to provide the current level of service.
Regular food donations from our many local businesses, farmers and individuals provide a significant portion of the food we are able to supply to our clients. Financial donations ensure we are able to pay our part time manager, rent, utilities, transportation, other operational expenses and the purchasing of food items not normally donated (e.g., eggs, meat, potatoes).
One of the things we are doing during our 25th year is designing a cook book that will be distributed to our clients. The cook book will focus on recipes and ideas for inexpensive meals or snacks that will focus on school age children. If you have a recipe or idea that would be suitable for inclusion in this cook book please send it to, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are hoping to publish our cook book in September.
If you are interested in volunteering a few hours a week at the food bank, we would like to hear from you. We are located at 5 Allen Street in Carleton Place and can be reached at 613-257-8546.