Salvation Army hands out more than $1 M in food during pandemic
(Photo courtesy Salvation Army - 6390 lbs of food being delivered in May)
"Its been an incredible time of support."
So says Alice Wannan, Executive Director of the Owen Sound Salvation Army Food Bank who says they've hit a milestone after giving out more than a million dollars worth of food since the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago.
"Owen Sound you made this possible. You care about those in need; those living in poverty; those who have struggled because of the pandemic and those whose lives have drastically changed in the last 568 days!"
Wannan says the community has really stepped up in this unprecedented time of need; corporations, agencies, service clubs and households have continued to donate food and money to those who've found themselves in tough for maybe the first time ever.
Stats released since March 2020 show about 6,000 hampers have been given out which averages out to 360 households a month.
They've served 1,336 individuals and 576 children (these are unique, one time visits from people who have never come before) which is higher than the provincial average of 1 in 3 children receiving food from a food bank.
Wannan says they haven't hit these kinds of numbers in the 30 years she's been working at the food bank.
The reasons vary - everything from job losses and reduced hours to high housing costs and even new families moving into town who find themselves a little short at the end of the month.
Wannan acknowledges even when when the pandemic is over, the housing shortage and high rental prices in Owen Sound will be with us for a long time.
Because their shelves are still well stocked and their coffers filled, the Owen Sound Salvation Army will not be doing their traditional Thanksgiving Food Drive this year.
Instead they are asking for grocery store gift cards instead so they can augment the hampers with perishible food items like milk and produce.
The only items they are currently short on are toilet tissue, cereal and canned meats.
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