With food bank usage reaching unprecedented levels, the cost of food rising, and the ongoing project to move the Morrisburg location of the Dundas County Food Bank, the new board of directors have turned their focus to increasing donations.
Food bank volunteers stepping down from the positions they held with the food bank, reiterated the fact that donations need to be the boards focus going forward, at the organization’s annual general meeting held March 9, at the Hartford Retirement Residence in Morrisburg.
“I have projected an increase in donations, as the board hopes to encourage more as they go forward,” said Dave King, who will be stepping away from his duties as treasurer.
Last year, just over $96,000 worth of monetary donations were received by the Dundas County Food Bank.
“I must emphasize the importance of our donor base,” said Alvin Runnalls, in his last report as chair of the Dundas County Food Bank. He too will step away from the DCFB. “Everything hinges on donations of cash and food from corporations, business organizations, service clubs and many individuals. We are extremely thankful for the generosity.”
While the money donated amounted to $96,000, the value of the food that went out the door to families in need was $173,343.
That food was included in 2,063 boxes of food that fed 6,231 people over the year, 40 per cent of whom are children.
Of the families who received food items last year, 36 per cent receive disability income, 24 per cent Ontario Works income, and 18 per cent fall into the category of working poor.
According to Judy Hilson, coordinator for the Winchester location of the food bank, the value of food is up about three per cent over the previous year, while the total amount of food distributed was about 14 per cent more than last year.
About one-third of food in the food boxes distributed is purchased from the food budget. The other two-thirds are food items donated to the food bank.
Last year, $60,000 was budgeted for food purchasing, but $73,600 was spent on food. With the 14 per cent increase in food bank visits seen over the last year, the food purchasing budget was increased to $80,000 for 2015.
The Morrisburg food bank location continues to see its numbers rise at a faster pace than Winchester. About 58 per cent of food boxes were distributed from the Morrisburg location.
Work is progressing on the renovation of the food bank space at the Morrisburg arena. According to Brian Cox, who delivered the building committee report, the move into the new space is likely to take place towards the end of May. The Municipality of South Dundas has arranged an interest free loan for the food bank for the renovations.
“Our client base has grown substantially over the past year and we project the same increase this year,” said Ian McKelvie, DCFB administrator. “If we are to overcome deficits in the future, we need to become more assertive in our fundraising efforts.”
Following the AGM, the 2015 board of directors was elected. The executive includes, Terry Triskle, chair, Jim Millard, vice chair, Celeste Guse, secretary, and Wendy Weagant, treasurer. Directors are Terry Green, Laura Harbers, Bill Steele, James Tripp, Arie Vandodewaard, Jim Wilson and Joanne Havekes.