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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Food Bank Summit

Regional | by Jon Meyer  

Food Bank Staff strategize a plan to fight help hunger and rising demand for service.

 

With the number of people using local food bank's soaring -- a collective of those running the banks met recently to strategize a plan to fight hunger.

Local food banks from the area including Meaford, Chatsworth, Owen Sound, Port Elgin, and Tobermory met for the second annual Food Bank Summit.

On the table for discussion was the 2011 Hunger report, dubbed "The Hunger Games."

In that report a shocking number of people were shown to be using local food banks.

Executive Director of the United Way of Bruce Grey Francesca Dobbyn says close to 14,500 people accessed their food banks over nine thousand times in 2011.

In Durham, Dobbyn says demand went from 613 people in 2007 to nearly 2,000 in 2011, while in Walkerton demand doubled during that same time period.

On a more positive note, Dobbyn says the summit shed light on what food banks are doing to offer more healthy food.

Dobbyn says 75 per cent of food banks in the area now have coomunity gardens associated with their operation.

Dobbyn says they're working on a plan to create grocery cards instead of handing out more food hampers.

She says it would be restricted to food products at local grocerys stores and not other things like tobacco.

The biggest challenge right now for food banks is managing donations, storage and volunteers.

Dobbyn says they need some younger volunteers to help move and sort items.

She says there's even talk about getting those who use food banks to also volunteer.

 

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