The West Nipissing Food Bank is hosting a fundraiser on February 11 at the West Nipissing Recreation Centre at 219 O’Hara Street in Sturgeon Falls. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., and tickets cost $40.00. These can be purchased in advance at the Stop & Shop at 226A King Street, and at Don’s Butcher Shop at 173 King Street.
Roadhouse will be there to rock the crowd, and all funds raised will go towards putting food on the shelves. Local business TCM Total Cabinet Modules is paying the band’s fee, and the municipality is allowing the food bank to use the Recreation Centre for free. “Several other businesses are donating door prizes” as well, explained Don Clendenning, the food bank’s president.
Clendenning and former municipal councillor Leo Malette stopped by West Nipissing’s council chambers this past Tuesday to provide an update on the food bank, and thank councillors for their support.
Both wanted to emphasize the “value and the need for the food bank” in the region, Clendenning said, and the numbers he presented widened some eyes around the table. The amount of people using the food bank has doubled in the past few years. In 2019, 960 people passed through the food bank’s door, and last year, 2,602 came knocking.
The food bank is only open twice a month, so the increase in traffic was definitely felt. Clendenning noted that in 2019 there were 731 households registered with the food bank, and there are around 7,252 households in West Nipissing, according to Statistics Canada’s numbers for 2021.
See: Shelves getting a little bare at West Nipissing’s food bank
“Over the years, the numbers have increased an average of 10 per cent or more per year,” Clendenning added. He reminded council of the rising foods costs, increasing rents and mortgage payments to help explain the increase in traffic. He mentioned food costs have risen between five and seven per cent, and “I don’t think anyone got a wage increase anywhere near that,” Clendening said.
It takes a village to stock a food bank, and “we survive on donations,” from individuals, businesses, grocery stores, schools, and other groups and organizations within West Nipissing. However, with food flying off the shelves, the food bank felt a winter dance would help raise some much-needed funds.
“Thank you for the work you are doing,” Mayor Kathleen Thorne Rochon said. “On behalf of council, we’re happy to support an organization such as yours that serves so many members of the community so well.”
“It looks like this will be a good success,” Clendenning said. “Thank you for your continued support”
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.