Visits to the West Nipissing Food Bank have doubled these past months. The food bank, located on 109 Third Street in Sturgeon Falls, usually saw 65 people come through the doors every first and third Wednesday, but as Don Clendenning explained, “we do over 130 now.”
Clendenning has been involved with the food bank for about four years, and currently sits as president. He noted that “usually in the summer you get a bit of a lull” in donations, as so many are on vacation or away at camp. But this summer it’s been less than usual. Since the pandemic, donations have “dropped off significantly.”
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“On the other hand, our clientele has doubled,” so the situation is difficult to navigate. To make do, the food bank is buying food, and the bank balance is getting low. “It’s depleting our bank account because we have to buy everything,” Clendenning said. “And we try to be as generous as we can” with the people stopping by, “but we have to buy for 600 people, so it’s hard for us too. We have to pay the same as everybody else.”
He noted that the local Metro, Giant Tiger, and No Frills have been great partners, as each offers a dropbox in-store where people can donate. “But there’s been a little bit of a drop off there,” as well, Clendenning said.
Recently, West Nipissing mayoral candidate Dan Roveda announced he will be jogging in support of the food bank and encouraged others to donate as well. “And that’s terrific,” Clendenning said, “we could use the help.”
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Clendenning mentioned that each Fall students at Ecole Secondaire Catholique Franco Cite put on a food drive, “and that’s fabulous, that usually stocks our shelves” until Christmas, he said.
Times are hard these days for many, and Clendenning knows that “a lot of people these days can’t donate, and it’s understandable.” However, for those who can, he invites them to do so. “Times are getting tough for us too, so any assistance that can be rendered, that would be excellent.” You can reach the food bank at 705-840-8680.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca