Feed the Need in Durham is like Santa’s workshop days before Christmas.
Volunteers are sorting, filling orders and distributing but instead of toys, the handle food — helping to feed the region.
“People have been good to us and we need to give back, that’s part of life,” said RoseMary Doucett, a volunteer with Feed the Need in Durham.
Doucett has been giving back for more than a decade. She and her husband started a food bank at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.
“There was a need at the church with people knocking and needing help and we were the ones that stepped forward. We had a young family at the time, a couple of young grandchildren and actually one of them started off when she was 3, counting 10 tea bags in a pile,” said Doucett.
For her first year, Rosemary did three holiday hampers for the church. 13 years later by the time she stepped down — the need grew to 35-50 families a week.
Rosemary is one of about 60 regular volunteers at Feed the Need in Durham.
“Imagine if you’re a single mom and you have a couple of kids, this time of year is stressful enough — many people struggle this time of year — put on top of that not being able to feed your family,” said Robyn McKibbon, community engagement coordinator for the charity.
Brock is between jobs. He uses the food bank in Oshawa once every three months but at Christmas, it’s a huge help.
“Still try to do the groceries of course but every now and then your expenses fall behind,” he said.
Every month, Feed the Need distributes 80,000 to 100,000 pounds of food to organizations that hand it out across the region.
October was a record, with over 108,000 pounds.
“Yes there’s a high need right now in the community. We want to be able to support people at Christmas time but those people that are in need and need help at Christmas time, they’re still going to need our help in January, February and March,” said McKibbon.
With hunger being a year-round issue, Feed the Need has extended its holiday campaign to the end of January, hoping to raise $50,000 and 50,000 pounds of food so the shelves don’t go empty at the start of 2020.