A never-end­ing need

Equip­ment im­prove­ments help­ing Marys­town food bank tackle us­age in­crease

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE MARYS­TOWN, N.L. IN­DUS­TRY [email protected]­erngazette.ca

As you en­ter the Sa­cred Heart Fam­ily Aid Cen­tre in Marys­town, the first thing you no­tice are the racks of cloth­ing.

Tucked off to the im­me­di­ate right, how­ever, there’s an­other small room. Its shelves are filled to the ceil­ing with food.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s food bank is look­ing a bit dif­fer­ent these days, more mod­ern.

With the wind kick­ing up a storm out­side, Pa­trick Power du­ti­fully showed the new ad­di­tions to the tiny, but crit­i­cally im­por­tant, space to The South­ern Gazette on Thurs­day, Nov. 15.

There’s a stain­less-steel work ta­ble, cart and desk, as well as a com­mer­cial safety lad­der thanks to a do­na­tion from Cana­dian Tire.

A ca­pac­ity boost grant from Food Bank Canada and the Wal­mart Foun­da­tion was used to pur­chase two new stand-up freez­ers, a cooler and a com­mer­cial floor scale.

The upright freez­ers will make it eas­ier on the food bank’s vol­un­teers, many of whom are older, says Nora Gaulton, chair of the Sa­cred Heart Fam­ily Aid Com­mit­tee.

With the scale, start­ing in Jan­uary, the food bank will be­gin mea­sur­ing the amount of food it takes in and dis­trib­utes by weight for the first time.

“It was great to see it done,” Gaulton said of the im­prove­ments in a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

Us­age up

A fair bit of food has gone out over the last year, ac­cord­ing to Gaulton, with us­age up sig­nif­i­cantly.

“Where one­time some weeks you did five or six (re­quests for food), you can have now 20 and 25 a week. So, you know, it’s quite an in­crease,” she said.

As is most of­ten the case when the econ­omy is bad, more peo­ple turn to the food bank, Gaulton says. The Sa­cred Heart Fam­ily Aid Cen­tre also helps with heat and light, oil, med­i­cal as­sis­tance and other ex­penses if peo­ple need it.

“This year has been a very hard year on the Burin Penin­sula, noth­ing light about it,” Gaulton says. “Look around you, I mean there’s nobody work­ing. JCPs (govern­ment-funded Job Cre­ation Part­ner­ships projects) is the most that’s keep­ing ev­ery­thing go­ing.”

There is some con­cern about peo­ple misusing the food bank, not only for emer­gen­cies as it is in­tended, but as a monthly in­come sup­ple­ment. The or­ga­ni­za­tion re­cently changed the mes­sage on its phone line to try to help peo­ple un­der­stand that.

Gaulton says typ­i­cally peo­ple can come for food once a month, but it re­ally de­pends on each sit­u­a­tion.

“Ev­ery cir­cum­stance is dif­fer­ent, there’s no two peo­ple alike, and it’s based on that,” she says.

There’s also a con­sid­er­able amount of food and mone­tary do­na­tions com­ing in from the com­mu­nity these days.

Thanks to the Com­mu­nity Food Shar­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and lo­cal busi­nesses such as Ken­tucky Fried Chicken, Wal­mart, Sobeys and Nofrills, food is con­tin­u­ously be­ing do­nated.

“They’re all good. I mean, it’s great what they give us. With­out it, I think all food banks would be in dire straits,” Gaulton said.

PAUL HERRIDGE – THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

Pa­trick Power showed The South­ern Gazette the new ad­di­tions at the Sa­cred Heart Fam­ily Aid Cen­tre’s food bank on Thurs­day, Nov. 15, in­clud­ing a cooler.

SALTWIRE NET­WORK FILE PHOTO

The Town of Marys­town has reached an agree­ment to pur­chase the for­mer Marys­town Ship­yard. Mar­base Marys­town Inc. has also agreed to lease the fa­cil­ity from the town for the next 20 years.

PAUL HERRIDGE – THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

The food bank at the Sa­cred Heart Fam­ily Aid Cen­tre in Marys­town was re­cently able to pur­chase some new equip­ment thanks to fund­ing from Food Bank Canada and the Wal­mart Foun­da­tion, as well as Cana­dian Tire. A fed­er­ally funded Job Cre­ation Part­ner­ship project also helped hire sev­eral peo­ple to do the ne­c­es­sary work to com­plete the en­deav­our.

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