The Guelph Food Bank says there was a drop in non-perishable donations during its annual Thanksgiving food drive.
It should come as a surprise to no one that the COVID-19 pandemic had something to do with that.
“We did anticipate a little bit of a drop-off,” administrator Pauline Cripps. “There’s a lot of hesitance to donate tangible food items with everything going on and our biggest task has been to ensure the public that yes, we can still accept those items.”
Something else that was not a surprise was falling well short of their goal of receiving 90,000 pounds of food.
It’s a goal that is set every year because, based on demand, that is what carries the food bank through until Christmas. At the end of the official food drive, they were sitting at about 35,000 pounds.
While it’s only about one-third of their goal, Cripps said they have seen other kinds of support coming through this year.
“There’s been a lot of help from the provincial and federal governments that’s never seen really at our level,” she said. “We’re working with a lot of our other contacts to ensure that we are able to fill those gaps where the normal donations have not been coming in.”
Cripps referenced the federal government’s $50-million food surplus program, which is designed to help farmers faced with too much food. That surplus food eventually makes its way to food banks across Canada.
She said that helps them with perishable food items that are needed for the food bank and the organizations that it supports.
“There’s still definitely a need for that non-perishable. There’s just not much of that coming through right now,” Cripps said.
All of the same donating methods are still in place. Drop-off bins are located at every grocery store and fire hall in Guelph, and the food bank’s warehouse on Crimea Street is still accepting donations.
The items mosted needed are canned foods such as meats and vegetables, toiletries for adults as well as children, baby formula and food, and diapers.