“Our shelves are emptier than I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been here for 13 years,” said Colette Gray, food services coordinator for the Soup Kitchen Community Centre. “For us to continue we need to replenish our shelves.”
Recently word got out on social media that the Soup Kitchen was in a desperate state and they were asking people to help them out at the annual food drive.
Patrice Celetti was browsing the internet at home when she came across a Facebook post about this.
Her daughter Liberty, 12, asked about what she was reading, then took a look at the post herself.
“How can that happen?” asked Liberty, baffled at how a community could allow people to not have enough food.
“People don’t donate like they used to," said the mom. “I think it’s the cost of food.”
Liberty asked her mom if she would give all the food in their kitchen to the Soup Kitchen — her mom thought of a better idea.
Just the week before her other two kids Carter, 11, and Leah, 9, had a garage sale to raise money for a family trip.
“How about we have a yard sale where, instead of cash, we take food donations?” suggested Celetti. The kids agreed.
The yard sale is taking place this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the yard of their 19 MacMurray Ave. home.
The Celetti's are recommending people pay using the types of food the soup kitchen needs the most: pasta sauce, peanut butter, spices, baby products, or canned foods of any type — though all food is appreciated.
“Things, that kind of stretch,” said Gray.
The Soup Kitchen serves meals every weekday, usually for around 80-100 people said Gray.
They don’t officially have a food bank but will give organizations like Children’s Aid, Metis Nation, or Ontario Works access to their shelves regularly.
The growing demands from these organizations, created by a growing demand in society, are why the food bank is low on supplies now said Gray.
“I don’t know why this is happening, but people seem to be really struggling. (The problem) seems to be increasing,” she said. “We don’t want to see anyone lose their kids because they don’t have any snacks.”
Gray has also seen a parallel higher number of people coming in on average to have meals as well.
“I don’t know if it’s because rent and hydro are higher and there is less for food — I don’t know,” she said.
The Soup Kitchen's 2017 Food Drive will run until mid-October.
They are marketing the food drive with an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge-style campaign — groups or individuals drop off donations then challenge three others to do the same.
They are posting photos of some people who donate onto Facebook.
More information about what the Soup Kitchen needs can be found here.