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Angus Food Bank in crisis: Need is up, but donations are down

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place — demand is up and donations are down.

The Angus Food Bank, located in a trailer behind the Angus Recreation Centre, is doing the best it can, trying to do more with less.

It’s not working out very well.

“We’re in dire straits,” said Pauline Saunders, vice-president of the Angus Food Bank. “We have almost double the need this year compared to last year.”

And that may not be the food bank’s biggest challenge.

According to Saunders, giving is down ... way down.

“Food donations have dropped off drastically,” Saunders said. “People can’t afford to give to charities as much as they have in the past and we’re seeing it almost daily.”

The Angus Food Bank, which is open on Wednesday and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m., has been helping about 250 families every month and that number continues to climb, Saunders said.

To help the food bank out, the Essa Public Library, Angus branch, is hosting a food drive until Dec. 12. Anyone who is able to give is asked to consider dropping off non-perishable items to the Angus branch.

"When we heard that the Angus Food Bank is serving twice the families they were last year, I knew we had to pitch in any way we could,” said Glenda Newbatt, manager of public services for the Essa Public Library.

“The library is a convenient place that many people in our community visit on a regular basis," she added. "Hosting a collection site for anyone who is able to give is a small way that we can contribute to our community during what can be an especially difficult season for some."

The food bank’s top needs are boxed or canned potatoes, hamburger helper, canned pasta, fruit cups, pudding cups, juice, crackers and cookies.

And cash.

“The monetary donation is great because then I, as the shopper, can go and get the deals, the sales,” she said. “When we’re low on something I’m able to take that money and get what we need to restock our shelves.”

Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald said the work done by the food bank is vitally important to the community and she has nothing but praise for the folks who volunteer.

She’s also confident the community will rally and help out as much as possible.

“No one should go hungry,” Macdonald said. “The food bank plays a crucial role in delivering food to individuals and families who are experiencing food insecurity.

“Essa residents, businesses and organizations are very caring and very supportive," the mayor added. "Every food or monetary donation they make is making a huge difference in many lives.”

Wayne Doyle, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BarrieToday.com