“I have never seen the shelves this low in 10 years,” said Kim Merkley, Food Bank Coordinator at the House of Lazarus, “this is the first time I have had to buy food in May. Usually I have enough to carry us through until August.”
The House of Lazarus Community Outreach Mission and Resource Centre is experiencing higher food bank usage, which has become the norm for food banks in general across the province.
The lack of employment for permanent, living wage jobs, a shortage of affordable housing, along with increasing prices on just about everything is driving many to turn to food banks.
So far this year, the House of Lazarus Food Bank has seen 28 families who have never had to use a food bank turning to them for support to get through the month.
Fortunately, it is very clear that supporters are recognizing the need in these economic times as donations of food have increased over the last year, however the need has surpassed even that.
In response to hearing about the need from food bank staff, one donor has generously donated a Zero Gravity Lawn Chair as a perk to one lucky person who brings in five food items or donates $5 between July 23rd and August 3rd.
The current campaign is aptly called “Relaxing in the sun knowing you’ve helped someone!” For each five items donated, the donor will receive a coupon to place in the draw box with the winner drawn on August 3rd at 2 p.m.
The statistics say it all: From January to June 2012, the food bank had 614 visits versus 549 last year, which breaks down to 1,010 adults and 596 children. Sixty percent of those who were served by the House of Lazarus Food Bank are children, which is a dramatic increase and above the Ontario Hunger Count figure of 37.5 percent.
The Hunger Count Report is an annual survey by Food Banks Canada and gives a comprehensive report on hunger and food bank use in Canada along with recommendations for change.
Food donations show that the House of Lazarus received 9,918.8 kilograms and purchased 431.1 kilograms, while 14,682.8 kilograms was distributed.
Current needs include: canned vegetables, fruit, meats, and fish; peanut butter; macaroni and cheese; meal extenders (Side Kicks, Hamburger Helper, for example); soups: sugar; skim milk powder; and, instant coffee.
Shopping in the House of Lazarus Thrift and Household Goods Shops is another way to support the food bank. The dollars spent at the shop go to support food bank operations.
For more information on activities in the shops and the community or to donate funds on line check out the web site at www.houseoflazarus.org or Like Us on Facebook.
To contact the House of Lazarus, call 613-989-3830 or email email@example.com for information on this or other areas of concern.
Donations can be dropped off at the House of Lazarus, located at 2245 Simms Street in Mountain. Items can also be dropped off at the Hartford Retirement Centre in Morrisburg.