KAWARTHA LAKES-Joe Smith (not his real name) is a single dad in his 20’s. His ten year old daughter lives with him in Dunsford. Sometimes his daughter doesn’t go to school because there’s no food for her lunch.
This is one of the stories shared by Kawartha Lakes Food Source (KLFS)at a special council meeting on Tuesday. Joe uses the Dunsford Food Bank to put food on the table and without it, he and his daughter would go hungry.
Food Source says they and their partnering food banks feed almost 1000 people per month in the City of Kawartha Lakes, about one third are children. “Poverty is in our community,” Heather Kirby, General Manager of Kawartha Lakes Food Source told council. “You can support it in many ways, not just volunteering ar your food bank but there’s shelters and other social services that you can stand behind with your time and your cash donations.”
Food Source says anyone can find themselves in the same situation as Joe. “Your life can change in an instant,” Luanne Reparon a volunteer at KLFS explained. “Things happen, our clients don’t choose to be clients of the food bank but they are grateful we are here.” A perfect example is another food bank client who was a succesful, single woman, owns her own home and had a good job. All that changed when she had a stroke. She is now using a line of credit on her home to pay the bills and using the food bank according to Reparon.
Kirby points to a lack of affordable housing as one of the main reasons people need food banks. “We all know affordable housing is a gigantic concern and a big barrier as 60-70% of someone’s income in a foodbanking situation goes to housing. So that leaves them about $200 month to pay for their hydro, gas and food on top of all of that.”
KLFS is a wharehouse that supplies 9 food banks across the city. The 4000 square foot distribution centre is located in Lindsay, shipping food all over the city. They also support the Breakfast Program at 21 local schools. It’s a non profit run by about 100 volunteers who put in 2600 voounteer hours a year.
The “festive” season is anything but for those struggling to put food on the table. It puts a strain on local foodbanks and officials expect the shelves to be bare by the end of December.
“I see the need, we make a difference and all of our clients tell us that.” Reparon says.
You can help make a difference too by donating to KLFS if you can. For more informaiton go to:http://kawarthalakesfoodsource.com