Hunger is a Guelph problem with a Guelph solution.
Wednesday, October 7, 20092 Comments
With the economic recession, more and more Guelph residents are struggling to make ends meet. (istock photo)
Thanksgiving, as its namesake suggests, is a holiday that encourages us to think about the people around us, and appreciate how much we’ve been given.
The Guelph Food bank and CSA Food Bank understand this better than most. Their volunteers and employees work tirelessly to help the less fortunate, not only at Thanksgiving, but throughout the year.
With the economic recession, more and more residents are struggling to make ends meet. Tracy Marchesich, Operations Manager at the Guelph Food Bank on Crimea Street, estimates the number of people seeking assistance from her organization has increased by 1,440 in the past year. There were approximately 56,300 visits food bank in the past twelve months.
The food bank tries to help everyone it can, says Marchesich, who has volunteered with the organization since 1993.
“Help is assessed on need, not income,” she explains. “Information is taken over the telephone, including [the] make up of household, income, housing costs [and] dietary concerns”
For those students who find themselves on the wrong side of the poverty line, the CSA Food Bank on the corner of South Ring Road and Gordon Street is available to help. Here, a university ID card and valid bus pass are all that’s needed to take advantage of the volunteer-run program, which offers meal plans for people with allergies, religious dietary restrictions or who are vegetarian or vegan.
Coordinator Krista Kermer estimates there are currently 220 registered users at the campus food bank.
She’s quick to point out that no personal information is recorded when accessing the food bank’s services.
“We want to make sure everyone feels safe at the food bank,” Kermer notes.
With Thanksgiving all but here and Christmas on the way, demand at food banks is on the rise and so is the need for public assistance. Both organizations would benefit from items such as dry pasta, rice, canned foods (specifically fish, meat, fruit and vegetables), baby supplies, hygiene products, foods that are low in sugar and salt and nut-free snacks.
If money is tight, volunteering is another great way to give back, Kermer points out.
“Volunteers are really needed to keep things going… we offer very flexible activities where you can do what you want to do.”
Hunger is everyone’s problem and everyone can be part of the solution. I can’t think of a better time to realize this truth, than now, at Thanksgiving.
For more information about the Guelph Food Bank, contact (519) 767-1380
Upcoming food drives and events
Thanksgiving Food Drive
September 30-Oct. 18
Food can be donated at local grocery stores, fire halls, or the food bank at 100 Crimea Street.
Metro/ Food Basics Food Drive
The Guelpg Food Bank is for for volunteers to hand out information to increase donations over Thanksgiving.
Guelph Storm Game Food Drive
There will be a collection of non-perishable food and cash donations for the Guelph Food Bank at the entrance to the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Complex.
Meal Exchange Guelph is looking for volunteers to canvas the community for donations.
Guelph Santa Claus Parade
There will be a collection of non-perishable food items along the parade route in the downtown core.
Holiday Gift Wrap
Guelph Food Bank volunteers will be wrapping gifts outside of Sears an the Stone Road Mall for cash donations.
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