Carbonear food bank strug­gling for do­na­tions

Can’t keep up with in­creas­ing vis­its

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The St. Vin­cent de Paul Food Bank in Carbonear has run into some dif­fi­cul­ties as of late.

The food bank, lo­cated just off of Ade­laide Street, serves over 100 house­holds - hun­dreds of in­di­vid­u­als - in the run of a month, but has had trou­ble keep­ing up with those num­bers as food do­na­tions be­come less and less com­mon.

On Monday, Aug. 28, pho­tos were posted to Face­book show­ing a clear lack of food on the bank’s shelves. With daily visi­tors to the food bank, chair­per­son Kerri Ab­bott told The Com­pass that it can be dis­heart­en­ing, and that she’s had to turn peo­ple away in the past due to the bank lack­ing the foods peo­ple needed.

How­ever, a lack of do­na­tions is not as sim­ple as it may seem, ac­cord­ing to Ab­bott. She ex­plained that some more ob­scure foods, such as lime juice, may not be a top pri­or­ity for those who come to the food bank.

“We’ll ac­cept just about any kind of food,” Ab­bott said. “Peo­ple need what­ever they can get, at the end of the day. But some­times we’ll get things that peo­ple don’t re­ally know Kerri Ab­bott hopes to see more do­na­tions in the fu­ture as vis­its to the food bank in­crease.

what to do with. Some­times we’ll get a lot of those things, and then we’ve got a ton of one thing, but no soap, for ex­am­ple, which is some­thing else peo­ple re­ally need.”

Ab­bott also ex­plained that some­times peo­ple, with­out re­al­iz­ing it, pro­vide the bank with foods that will soon be ex­pired. Vol­un­teers at the food bank are forced to throw the food out once it reaches its ex­piry date, re­sult­ing in even less food to fill the shelves.

How­ever, nei­ther of th­ese things are the di­rect rea­son be­hind empty shelves. Ab­bott ex­plained that do­nat­ing food has be­come less af­ford­able as other bare ne­ces­si­ties be­come more ex­pen­sive.

“Things are a lot more ex­pen­sive th­ese days. Peo­ple have light bills, mort­gages, and in­sur­ances to pay for, and at the end of the day, things just aren’t as af­ford­able as they used to be,” Ab­bott said. “Food is be­com­ing less im­por­tant on peo­ple’s list of things to pay for, and peo­ple who may have been able to af­ford ex­tra food to do­nate, no longer can, by no fault of their own.”

Ab­bott went on to note that

Peo­ple have a lot to pay for, and food isn’t a top pri­or­ity for them, un­for­tu­nately. — Kerri Ab­bott

the higher cost of liv­ing has re­sulted in more peo­ple re­ly­ing on the food bank ev­ery month, which ul­ti­mately means what food they do get is not last­ing as long as it once would.

“Re­cently, we’ve been see­ing a lot more fam­i­lies come here that are work­ing min­i­mum wage jobs and things like that, who can no longer af­ford to buy gro­ceries,” Ab­bott said. “Be­fore, it was mostly peo­ple liv­ing on gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance, you know? But nowa­days, like I said, peo­ple have a lot to pay for, and food isn’t a top pri­or­ity for them, un­for­tu­nately. It’s re­ally sad to see, and makes me all the hap­pier that we’re here to help th­ese peo­ple.”

Dur­ing The Com­pass’ visit to the food bank, shelves that had been empty only two days prior, were slowly start­ing to fill up again. Do­na­tions came in as time passed, and the vol­un­teers found them­selves get­ting busy. Be­fore long, some of the shelves were nearly full again – some­thing Ab­bott cred­ited to the Face­book post made that past Monday.

“This, what we have here now, will likely last us around a month,” Ab­bott said, happy to see such a sud­den change. “I think that proves that we need to do more to try and get our name out there. Right now, we’re just re­ally busy, and since we have no paid staff – all vol­un­teers – no one can re­ally put in the time to do things like that, but we’re work­ing on it. We need to, be­cause we need to help th­ese peo­ple as much as we can.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The St. Vin­cent de Paul food bank’s shelves were emp­ty­ing quickly on Monday, Aug. 28.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Two days later, on Aug. 30, do­na­tions came in by the minute. The food that was do­nated will hope­fully last the food bank ap­prox­i­mately one month, ac­cord­ing to chair­per­son Kerri Ab­bott.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

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