June 23, 2022

Sault food bank peaks in use in 2021

SAULT STE. MARY –

The staff at Place St. Vincent in Sault Ste. Marie says food bank use has increased dramatically in 2021 as she prepares to face the challenges of the New Year.

They blame various factors, including job losses linked to the pandemic and rising food prices, for the surge in demand for food banks.

“In the last quarter of 2021, compared to the previous year, our use of food banks increased by 42 percent,” said Shauna DiGasparro, board member for St. Vincent Place. “So it’s pretty obvious what the need is in our community. “

DiGasparro says the impact of the pandemic on the local employment situation, whether it be job losses or a sharp decrease in part-time hours, is likely to be at the root of the increased demand. She adds that rising grocery bills are also a factor.

“Rising food costs increase our demand, but at the same time, it costs us more money to buy basic commodities,” she says.

Along with donors, volunteers are what brings Place Saint-Vincent to life. Sonia Dube says volunteering at the food bank has helped her better understand her community.

“You learn to be more generous, you learn more about what is going on in your community, about all the processes that are going on with all the different social services,” says Dube. “It has been a real eye opener for us. Particularly over the last couple of years of what’s going on in the Soo with regard to the hidden homeless.”

St. Vincent Place staff say the demand for hot meals, which are prepared twice a week, has also increased significantly. They are hoping for a successful “Coldest Night of the Year” fundraiser, which is slated for late February.


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