More People Need Walkerton Food Bank

A spokesperson for the Walkerton and District food bank says the need for their service is increasing every year.

Spokesperson Maryanne Beuhlow says they saw 894 people visit last year.

She says so far this year, there have already been 1,057 visits.

She adds there are a great number of new applicants this year, with a least one new client a week.

Beuhlow says a recent United Way survey found nutritious food costs a family of four nearly 180 dollars a week in Grey and Bruce Counties.

It found the number of needy people rose 47 per cent between 2011 and 2013.

Beuhlow says hunger hurts in many ways. She says it affects mental health, relationships and learning ability.

She says illness, unemployment, separation, and low income often leaves people without enough money to buy food.

She adds that limited income is needed for too many things. “Is it going to go for rent, or do they have a mortgage, do they have medical expenses, heat and hydro. I mean this past winter we certainly had a lot of money spent on heat. School supplies for children. People are entitled to a bit of entertainment.”

She explains, “Those that were reported to be on Ontario Disability program: 41 per cent of the clients were, and the Canadian average is 16 per cent. So it shows you a difficulty here in Bruce and Grey.”

She says a single person on disability only makes around 600-dollars a month, which is not enough to make ends meet.

45 per cent of clients in Bruce and Grey are on Ontario Works, compared to a Canadian average of 50%.

She points out, “one in five parents say they skip their own meals to ensure that there’s enough food for their children to eat. And that’s a pretty sad situation, too.”

She says the food bank can always use donations, especially canned fruit, juice, cereal, tuna, canned stew and toiletries.

They also accept donations of fresh or frozen food, but only if they are brought directly to the food bank in Walkerton.

Beuhlow says fortunately they get a lot of support at this time of year from Bruce Recycling, local high school students, The OPP’s stuff a cruiser, and Farm Credit Canada school collections.

However, she says the support during the Thanksgiving to Christmas season often has to last them through their summer famine period.