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Lean times at Callander’s food bank

Increased need collides with decreased donations
Callander~food bank~file~june 2021~David Briggs~cropped
The Callander and District food bank / File photo by David Briggs

Times are tough for most these days, and the Callander and District Food Bank is seeing the results. More people are coming through the small storefront at 78 Lansdowne Street, but less donations are passing through. Demand is outpacing supply, and “we’ve been busy” helping people get the food they need, Maureen Carriere said.

Carriere, along with Rosemary Dupuis and Debra Hickey, founded the foodbank back in 2010, and since then, the place has operated on a volunteer basis. They receive some financial donations from the Municipality of Callander and the Municipality of East Ferris, but the province does not pitch in to help.

The food bank operates from the kindness and generosity of the community, but with rising inflation coming in the wake of Covid lockdowns, many can’t be as generous as before.

See: Residents’ hunger for Callander’s food bank

“I think Covid hit a lot of people hard,” Carrier said, “and it’s taking a good while for recovery.” Securing food “is getting harder for a lot of people,” she added, noting that more people are opening the food bank’s door these days. Grocery costs are climbing, and “every week you go, prices are up.”

These rising costs make it more difficult to donate, and it’s “not like it was” a few months ago, Carriere said. Donations are down for sure, and she mentioned the secretary treasurer was in the process of printing some flyers to pass around Callander to encourage people to donate.

The classics are always welcome—dry goods, canned foods, financial donations—but you’re also welcome to donate some of your garden produce to the cause. The tomatoes are coming out, so if you have extra, bring them down. Same goes for anything else you may not be able to eat.

Homemade preserves—relishes, jams, or canned sauces—are not allowed, as those must be made in a commercial kitchen before they are allowed to be given out. It’s a regulation to ensure safety, but if you happen to have an industrial kitchen and some excess tomatoes, feel free to can a batch of sauce and bring it down.

Times are hard, but Carriere remain optimistic, and is grateful for the people who are still helping support the foodbank. Many residents still drop off groceries and money, and the Lions Club has been a great help with their bingo fundraisers. The Callander Animal Hospital also provide a lot of support.

“We do have committed people helping” she said, adding there are “many generous people” in the community who support the food bank. But for many, these days are very tough financially— “they really are right now”—and “families are really struggling with the rising costs, and the food costs going up as well.”

The food bank is open on Monday and Tuesday from nine to noon, and those are the best times to drop off donations. However, phone calls are always welcome from Monday to Friday between nine and five if you have any questions for Carriere and the team. The number is 705-752-0777.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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