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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Job Loss & Isolation About To Put Huge Demand On Food Banks

Grey Bruce | by Claire McCormack  

United Way is taking monetary donations for Grey Bruce food banks to buy direct from suppliers.

Food Banks are facing increased pressure because of scores of job losses, quarantine and isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food banks normally only give two to five days worth of food, once a month to a household.

United Way of Bruce Grey Executive Director Francesca Dobbyn says, the need has changed now, "We are looking at asking them to give 14 days for people in quarantine. We are looking at having to give them a month's worth of food because they've lost their jobs."

Dobbyn says food items can't be donated because they don't have time to sanitize all the food cans while trying to respond to a growing need.

She says money is the key to helping food banks right now.

Dobbyn says the United Way has set up two pandemic relief funds. One is specific to food banks in order to get them money as fast as possible, "We want them to purchase through the supply chain because the supply chain is secure and go through grocery stores."

Dobbyn says the other is a general pandemic relief fund to support the agencies and charities that are responding to the crisis. "We as charities, we have just lost all of our fundraising events," says Dobbyn, noting a number of them hold events that include crowds of people gathering like movie nights and gala fundraisers.

"How do we as charities, do the work our community is asking us to do when there is no money coming in?"

"We are asking people who can donate to make a donation."

There are food banks in Durham, Owen Sound, Markdale, Walkerton, Meaford, Port Elgin, Kincardine, Hanover, Lion's Head/Wiarton and Tobermory.

According to Dobbyn, local public health dietician Laura Needham has come up with a 14 day isolation menu that will eventually go into use and be accessible to people.

Dobbyn says the United Way office, like most other offices, is closed to the public, but staff are working inside.

At you can choose any of the funds or you can mail them a cheque to the United Way at 380 9th St E, Owen Sound, ON N4K 1P1.

Meanwhile, Dobbyn notes OSHaRE, the soup kitchen in Owen Sound has switched to doing takeout meals, because it feeds over 50 people at a time, and dining rooms have been ordered closed by the province in the interest of people's safety through social distancing. 

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