A news release issued by Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest has reported that for the first time ever, new clients outnumbered existing clients at Toronto food banks, with a record 1.45 million visits in the last year. The release also stated that this marks a 61 per cent increase in clients compared to the previous year.
SooToday decided to check in with the local Soup Kitchen Community Centre for an update on how things are going in our community.
“Everything is running pretty much the same way it’s ran through most of the pandemic,” said Ron Sim, general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre. “I’ve got a really good team of volunteers here so that makes it much easier. It’s the same team that we’ve had ever since March of last year when this all started.”
“We’re currently serving between 150-180 people a day,” he said.
Despite hoping to reopen its doors soon for indoor dining, the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in the area have prompted the local soup kitchen to rethink the decision.
“We’re still not doing indoor dining and doing bagged lunches. With our numbers going up in town, we won’t be opening our doors for some time,” Sim said.
Donation wise, the soup kitchen seems to be all set until Christmas, but of course, more donations are always welcome.
“At Thanksgiving a lot of the schools did food drives for us and we’re very grateful for that. There will be another drive on Nov. 30, Giving Tuesday, which will hopefully get us through the cold winter months where the need is sky high.”
“We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of agencies that are coming in for food for their clients,” Sim said when asked about the current situation in Toronto. “This town has been so generous and I’d like to continue seeing the same support. Not only for us but for St. Vincent’s, Salvation Army and Harvest Algoma.”
Sim realizes there’s a huge need and says that it will probably keep increasing until the economy gets better and inflation rates start to hopefully come down.
“Until that point we’re almost stuck dealing with high costs. With inflation going the way it is, what used to cost us $10 is now $14 or more, even at the wholesaler,” he said.
With COVID-19 numbers surging, Sim encourages the community to stay safe and follow protocols. “Hopefully we can all get through this and come out stronger at the end,” he said. “We also encourage everybody not to just support us, but any other local non-profits as well.”