June 6, 2022 4:26pm
The Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre is seeing rising hunger and food insecurity. Executive Director Mary Ellen Zielman says local food banks saw 21,000 visits in 2021 and that number is expected to rise this year.
She says the rising cost of living is to blame.
“It stretches everyone’s dollar, just to have enough to go around. So we’re just hoping that our donors continue to be generous. Then we’ll have enough to supply them this year,” said Zielman
“Well it certainly puts up the need for food. It puts up our costs in purchasing food and products that we buy. And certainly, with gas prices as well, it makes it harder for people to make ends meet,” she added.
Zielman pointed out that families that at one time were giving to the food bank are now needing to use the food bank instead.
She adds a study with the University of Western Ontario identified food deserts in the county, which are areas without a grocery store or foodbank nearby.
“So we started going into those communities, taking one of our refrigerated trucks, and meeting people in a parking lot for a certain amount of time once a month. And actually our numbers last year doubled in December to what they were in January,” she stated.
“All the food banks, when they report back, mention that there’s new families and new people coming. And not just sometimes once a month, but needing to come a couple times a month,” she concluded.