After two years, New Sudbury food bank reopens

Almost two years ago, Inner City Home had to close its New Sudbury food bank location due to COVID-19.

“When COVID came into existence, a lot of our volunteers were older people and they were very nervous and concerned about being in an atmosphere that might get them to have COVID,” said Joe Drago, Inner City Home president.

"So a lot of them just drifted away from us for the time being and I’m hoping that when COVID is eventually over that they will come back."

Before the pandemic began, the organization had 100 volunteers; there are now about 40. Despite the shortage of volunteers, the New Sudbury location now will be open Tuesday from 10 a.m. until noon, when it was previously open twice a week.

Executive director Jennifer Grooms said while the location was closed, families in New Sudbury had their food delivered. The need has grown so much that the location had to reopen. Grooms said in 2020, the organization provided food to 900 households every month, but now that number has grown to 1,400.

Inner City Home is the largest emergency food provider in the city, supplying food to people from Alban to Falconbridge. Having the location reopen means those in need won’t have to go as far to access services.

“A lot of them come here and they have a grocery cart to haul these things to the bus stop," said volunteer Homer Carr.

"It’s really sad, but when you know when you're hungry, I guess you manage, so a lot of them don’t have transportation.”

The New Sudbury location services a lot of big families, providing around $100 worth of groceries every week. Grooms said it was difficult for many clients to make the trip downtown every week, so the doors had to be reopened.

A recent food drive put on by St. Andrew the Apostle Church stocked the location with food. With winter on the way, Drago said the need will increase and there are many things people in the community can do to help.

“Cash is really good for us because the arrangement we have -- for every dollar, we can buy $3 of food," he said.

"So it’s important that we have a lot of cash donations because then we can fill the shelves here a lot more than people just giving us cans -- which we want for sure. I’m not turning them off, but if we can get a lot of cash we can buy a lot more to help those that are in need”

To learn more about Inner City Home, click here