PARRY SOUND - After the holidays, food banks and used item stores are in desperate need of more donations.
During the holidays there is a massive increase in families and individuals alike looking for food and extra clothes. As the weather gets to be more intense this time of the year, more families are paying for heating and hydro and struggle to get the right meals prepared for the cold winter months, according to local Salvation Army Capt. Peter van Duinen.
Both Salvation Army and Harvest Share are organizations willing to help those people in need.
However, this time of the year they are in need of more donations and volunteers to help the less fortunate.
The Harvest Share food bank has a large increase in less fortunate families looking to have a proper holiday dinner for themselves. As a result, the supplies for Harvest Share have decreased drastically, meaning the bank is in need of many more donations for the new year to support the 180 people who now visit weekly.
“As usual around this time of the year supplies are starting to deplete,” said Gail MacDonald, manager of Harvest Share. “Things such as tomatoes and pasta sauce, in fact we have plenty of pasta but not enough sauce to pair it with.”
Harvest Share is also almost entirely supported by volunteers who come in to help organize the food and serve visitors. When the holidays hit, Harvest Share received a lot more attention from volunteers around the area and many of those volunteers are still coming back to help out.
However, the charity is always in need of more volunteers to help support the large amount of people coming in every week, according to MacDonald.
“After Christmas we gained about 30 per cent more people a week than we had prior to that,” MacDonald said. “We have over 100 people with families coming in every week, and the lack of food is really starting to show how high the demand is.”
This time of the year can be quite difficult for many families who go to Harvest Share regularly, as their kids are heading back to school and much of their money has been spent on holiday presents. This means any small donation to the food bank could make a huge difference for a family in need, said MacDonald.
However, Harvest Share is not the only organization in need of more donations and volunteers this time of the year. The Salvation Army has a very similar cause of their own that helps people in need. Around this time of the year, supplies for them also start to deplete.
“Our food bank is down in supplies much more than it was during previous holiday seasons,” said van Duinen. “This is mostly a result of the fact that we had our supplies split between many different organizations this year, which we hadn’t done previous years.”
Much like Harvest Share, the Salvation Army relies on volunteers to help make a difference. Volunteers are always welcome and the organization has made it very clear that volunteers can come by any time, said van Duinen.
Volunteers will mostly be packing shelves, organizing the donations and helping clients find what they need.
To become a volunteer at the Salvation Army, all you have to do is pick up and fill out an application at its 61 Gibson Street location.
“Around this time of the year people with children often find it hard to make a healthy school lunch for their kids, so donating things like fruit cups can really help out,” van Duinen said. “However, many people also lack a proper stove and mostly have hot plates, so canned meals like spaghetti or soup are also very helpful donations.”
To donate to the Salvation Army, you can go to their store on 61 Gibson Street with anything you may have to offer. You can donate to Harvest Share by bringing your non-perishable food items to 22A Miller Street or to the drop box at Sobeys.