Sault food bank shelves running low

With an increasing number of people accessing its food bank over the summer, officials at St. Vincent Place in Sault Ste. Marie are appealing for donations.

They said the shelves at its food bank are emptying quickly, which is also affecting the agency's school lunch program.

With canned goods rapidly leaving its storeroom, and its Big Blue Food Drive still a few weeks away, officials at St. Vincent Place said donations are needed now.

"This is the time of the year that everyone's back to school," said executive director Nat Cicchelli. "Throughout the whole summer, we've been really busy with people accessing our food bank and our soup kitchen. So, as you see, our shelves are pretty bare."

The constant demand is putting a strain on the agency's Lunches For Learning program, which is designed to help parents to provide a lunch for their children to bring to school.

"The shelves for the Lunches For Learning program are pretty low as well," said program coordinator Sara McCleary. "I have enough for this week and I'm hoping next week. And then I'm hoping we have enough to get through until the Big Blue."

McCleary said 100 families have signed up for Lunches For Learning, and she's had to turn people away.

"The Lunches For Learning program is completely filled, even our waitlist is over 40 people long at this point," she said. "Unfortunately, I haven't been able to accommodate all of the families who have been wanting help with the program."

Cicchelli said St. Vincent is ready to accept food or cash donations.

"They can show up anytime Monday to Friday from 9 until 3," he said. "If it's a food donation that's a bit bigger, because sometimes people will organize something, to give us a call and we can then arrange for a pickup or a delivery time."

Around 260 families accessed the food bank in August, and officials are hoping to receive enough non-perishable food items or cash donations to carry St. Vincent through to its Sept. 25 food drive.