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Local food banks feeding more people than usual

By Kristen Oelschlagel.

Local food banks have seen a major increase in the amount of people using their services this summer.

Susanne Quinlan, director of operations at Gleaners Food Bank, said the number of people using the food bank has increased by 70 per cent since last year. She said it’s because most jobs in the area pay minimum wage.

“There’s new jobs but not all are wage earning jobs, wage earning meaning enough to pay rent, their car payment and enough to keep a family,” Quinlan said.

“It can only take one or two bills to off kilter a family.”

Grant Repar, acting manager of the Trenton Care and Share Food Bank, said the amount of people using their food bank has also been up this year.

He agrees that it’s because of the job situation in the area.

“A lot of people are working at minimum wage and it’s not enough to cover their rent and living expenses. And there’s a lot of people who are just unemployed,” said Repar.

About two weeks ago, Share and Care manager Al Teal made a plea to the public for donations.

“We’ve had a good response of financial contributions and food contributions, the community has really responded,” Repar said.

Repar said that the donations aren’t necessarily lower than last year, but that during the summer the amount of donations always drops which can have an affect on their clients.

“If we start to run out in certain areas and aren’t able to restock we just have to reduce the amount of food we give to clients in order to make it (the food) last longer until we’re able to restock,” he said.

Unlike Share and Care, Quinlan said food donations at Gleaners are up this summer, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still in need of certain items.

“We follow the Canada food guide when we pack the hampers, so if we don’t have something we will purchase it. We spent $5,500 in the last two weeks on food,” she said.

Both Quinlan and Repar said they are thankful for the help the food banks have received, but volunteers and donations are always needed.