A Desperate Appeal To The Community For Donations

pics 139emptycup“In all my years since opening the Good Neighbours Food Bank in 1993, I’ve never seen it this bad,” Anne Unwin.

Anne Unwin, Founding Director of the Good Neighbours Food Bank which is located above the Fire Hall on Lafontaine Street in Hanmer, is shown on the left with Margaret Bourgois on the right. The two ladies who are part of the Food Bank volunteer team both echo the sentiments that things have never been as desperate as they are today.
“Last year we would get maybe 20 or 25 families coming to us for help each month,” Anne explained. “This year we are getting close to double that amount but our donations and funding are not as high as they were before, so we are really struggling to provide for the needs of our clients.”

“We really need more donations of basic food items. I don’t know what we are going to do if things get any worse,” Anne commented as she pointed to the diminishing supply of such staple items as spaghetti sauce, which is given to every family each month. “We usually had to spend about $500 a month on fresh produce, vegetables, potatoes, eggs, margarine, and some meat products. Now we have to buy things that we normally had donated and we have more to provide for, so our bill is up around $1500 to $2000 and with the proceeds from our Nevada also dropping off, we may be facing some serious problems soon.”
A family of five or more receives about $100 worth of groceries when they come to the Food Bank for help. This includes 4 cans of vegetables; 1 margarine; 2 cans of juice; 2 cans of potatoes; 3 sleeves of crackers; 1 peanut butter; 3 cans of fruit; 3 cans of pork n beans or pasta; 1 powdered milk; 1 box of cereal or oatmeal; 1 pasta and sauce; 3 boxes of kraft dinner; 4 cans of soup; 4 cans of meat or fish; 1 jar of jam; 3 cans of stew; 2 cans of milk; 2 tea or coffee; plus a small quantity of fruit and vegetables and perhaps a jar of cheese whiz and some pancake mix and syrup. The family is expected to try to stretch this supply for three or more days.

Margaret explained that some of the situations people find themselves in are very emotional. “We had one lady last month that filled out her order and told us she had cancer and had just begun her chemo treatment. Another man lost his job two weeks before he would have qualified for employment insurance, but when he went to the welfare office he was told that he didn’t qualify for that assistance either. Then there was the man whose house burned down and he had three children to feed. We have some pretty tough cases.”

pics 145margfridge“This fridge is usually filled when we go shopping for margarine, eggs and produce,” Margaret stated. “It’s empty now because we had almost double the number of people coming to us last month.”

The Good Neighbours Food Bank is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the last two (2) Wednesdays of the month. If you would like to help out with donations of food or money, you can leave your donations at the Food Bank Depot which is located right outside Food Basics in the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre or drop off the items at The Vision Paper office at the top of the hill in Hanmer. You can also call Anne Unwin at 566-1283 for more information.