A $5,000 donation from Ashley Home Store in North Bay will make a big impact on dwindling supplies at the Food Bank as demand increases, especially for fresh items not normally donated.
"This is outstanding," Food Bank Manager Debbie Marson told BayToday. "We’re a local food bank so we really rely on our community for support .and when we get a donation like this through the Ashley store it's really appreciated because $5,000 goes a long way. We have seen an uptake of 1,100 hampers that went out, from 2021 to 2022, so the numbers are up. Everything is going up, and the cost of food is going up, so this helps tremendously.
"With a donation like this, it lets us purchase the items that we don't receive or some of the fresh fruit and vegetable items or personal hygiene items that we need to get."
According to a Food Banks Canada report, “Canada’s food banks are facing uncharted challenges as turbulent economic conditions continue to exacerbate and deepen systemic inequities, especially for employed people earning low incomes, students and seniors on fixed incomes,” according to CEO Kirstin Beardsley.
The report shows the devastating impact of rapid inflation and inadequate social support on poverty, food insecurity, and hunger.
Food bank use rose to the highest levels in Canadian history in 2022 and seniors accessing food banks increased to 8.9 per cent vs. 6.8 per cent before the pandemic
The top three reasons people accessed a food bank last year were due to food costs, low provincial social assistance rates, and housing costs.
"We truly believe that giving back to our community is very important, and a food bank is an integral part of our community," says local Ashley Home Store manager Kathy Watmore.
A percentage of all store profits went back to the food bank, as well as some food donations.
"Customers loved it. They thought it was awesome, especially over the Christmas season they know that there are lots of people out there that need support, but we opted to do it in January when the need is even greater," said Watmore.
See related: Ashley HomeStore campaign back three area food banks