Replenishing non-perishables top of mind for local foodbank

MORRISBURG – Last week Community Food Share’s warehouse shelves were empty, forcing the organization to purchase non-perishables to keep its food banks stocked.

At that point they started reaching out to the community for donations to help them replenish their shelves.

The Leader reached out to Jane Schoones, team lead for CFS to further explain the situation.

“With more individuals and families facing food insecurity the demand for our food bank services has grown by approximately 30 per cent over the past year,” said Schoones. “This increased demand depleted our warehouse stock in early September resulting in CFS food bank shelves really running short on nonperishable foods.”

On top of that increased demand, Community Food Share’s biggest spring food drive (Fill-a-Bag) held in May 2023 didn’t quite meet past expectations. While garnering an impressive number of donations (17,000 pounds of food and monetary donations of $2,000) the total food donations were down about 6,000 pounds from the previous year.

During the pandemic and beyond, Community Food Share had been able to keep up with demand and remain in a relatively okay position, until now.

Schoones explained that past experiences were that food collected always increased as visitor numbers increased.

The Fill-a-Bag food drive donations were usually sufficient to keep the non-perishable shelves stocked until late fall when other major food drives including OPP Stuff-a-Cruiser and CP Holiday train take place. Unfortunately, that is not the case this year.

On top of reaching out to the community to help replenish stock of the needed non-perishables, CFS also presented their case to the 100 Men of North Dundas event on October 12.

While CFS did not receive the top prize at that event, they did place second which amounted to $4,000 for CFS food banks. Those funds will bring about 1,275 pounds of food to replenish shelves.

“These funds will be a big help,” said CFS officials.

However, CFS had asked for $10,000 because that is the funding needed to adequately replenish stock.

“The funding will help over the next few weeks,” said Schoones. “Things are less dire at the moment.”

The most needed items, for those who wish to donate non-perishables to Community Food Share are the staple essentials which include: canned diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, soups, peanut butter, canned meat (ham, chicken, salmon),canned corn, peas, canned fruit, juice, boxes, cereal, and condiments. At this point, CFS has an overabundance of pasta, so they ask that people who choose to donate, refrain from donating pasta.

Monetary donations are always appreciated as CFS is a healthy choices food bank which means that they provide clients with healthy perishables including milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, meat, frozen juice and vegetables, bread and fresh produce.

Last week, CFS volunteers participated in the annual gleaning of the Upper Canada Village gardens and orchard, bringing a share of 1,200 pounds of produce to the local food banks.
Efforts are ongoing across the community to replenish the shelves.

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