Food bank use on the rise in Kingston

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

Kingston – It’s an eye opening statistic. This week’s report by Food Banks Canada found more than 860-thousand Canadians needed help feeding themselves last March.  More than 3-hundred thousand of those are children.  That’s a 1.3 percent increase over last year.

Nikki Jhutti:
“8 out of 10 provinces reported a rise in numbers and while the figures in Ontario remained the same that isn’t the case here in Kingston.”

“This year alone we’re approaching a 5-percent increase.”

The Partners in Mission food bank goes through about 2 thousand pounds of food daily. Volunteers pack 55-hampers a day which help feed about 66-hundred people every month.

Sandy Singers/Executive Director, Partners in Mission Food Bank
“You know 30-percent as the report said are single people and within that 30-percent of people we’re seeing males who are you know 50-plus years old who have had actually a working career, or laid off, or that work has discontinued for whatever reason that’s a really difficult age group to kind of re-employ.”

So far this year the food bank has been able to meet demand but Singers says that may not be case in the future.

Sandy Singers/Executive Director, Partners in Mission Food Bank
“A lot of people that are our donors are also facing some challenges and watching their dollars so it is a little concerning long term looking forward.”

Food banks aren’t the only organizations vulnerable people are turning to.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society has also seen an increase in foot traffic.

“If there’s a 100 people in this room there’s a 100-different reasons why they’re here.”

4 years ago the organization was serving 14-thousand meals a year.  Now its dishing out 21-thousand lunches.

Laurie Day, Meal Program Coordinator
“People can come in everyday and know they’re going to get something healthy, something hearty, set them up for the rest of the day.”

Those numbers are in addition to the more than a thousand people who are registered with St. Vincent’s emergency food pantry.

Judy Fyfe/Executive Director, The St.Vincent de Paul Society Kingston
” the bottom line is we’re all vulnerable to this any circumstance in life can change, you can go from being employed to unemployed in a moment.”

And as we enter the giving season – the next 6 weeks will be crucial for organizations like these who depend on donations.  With no easy solutions, they say it’s imperative that people step up when they can to help those in need.

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