Heather Kirby, executive director of Kawartha Lakes Food Source, is clearly grinning behind her mask when she describes the new home for the organization. What’s her favourite part about the new location?
“All of it.”
The new location at 164 Needham St. in Lindsay is big, bright, and fully accessible. It has a walk-in cool room and a freezer built with grant money from Food Banks Canada, and plenty of room for storage and sorting.
The very first article I wrote for this publication, months before it would have a print version, dealt in part with the shame I felt working full-time in construction and still qualifying for a portion of welfare.
Bad luck (and some bad decisions, if I’m really honest about it) had made for some bad times.
Kawartha Lakes Food Source will soon have a new home at 164 Needham Street in Lindsay as of July 10.
The new place is accessible for its member agencies, volunteers, and donors. More importantly, according to a press release, “it is dry, clean, bright, maintained, and has more space for our current operations.”
The sweeping changes to the labour market in Canada over the past 20 years is sparking an unprecedented use of food banks. Heather Kirby, general manager of Kawartha Lakes Food Source says, “The road to the door of a food bank is as different as there are stars in the sky. Housing, child care and transportation are expenses that must be a priority which moves food to the bottom of the list. These choices are nearly impossible to make.”
Nearly 300 additional people reached out to Kawartha Lakes Food Source for help in the past month, just as the PC government’s premature cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot had taken effect.
According to General Manager Heather Kirby, of Kawartha Lakes Food Source, there were 1,164 people seeking help this past month across Kawartha Lakes, including Lindsay – a rise of 267 new people. Of note is that 404 are children.
“I’ve seen a 100-plus jump in the past,” says Kirby, “but never this many people all of a sudden.”
On March 25, nearly 2,000 people in Lindsay lost their basic income cheques due to a broken promise of the PC government. On April 25, some will be back on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), or Ontario Works. Still others will receive no money top-up to stay out of abject poverty and will rely on precarious work, hoping to avoid homelessness.
Single people on ODSP get a maximum of $1,151 – $662 is for basic needs and $489 for shelter. Their total annual income with other benefits is only about $15,000 per year, which is more than $7,000 below the poverty line. Because of an ineffective changeover from basic income back to ODSP – the opposite of the smooth transition that was promised – some people were left in the lurch when it came to their important medications. Thankfully pharmacists stepped in to help.
Earlier this week community members and volunteers gathered at Calvary Pentecostal Church to open Lindsay’s third food bank — the Lindsay Community Food Market.
The Lindsay Community Food Market opens today at the church at 125 Victoria Ave. N and will regularly be open Mondays from 9 am to Noon, Thursdays from 4-6 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to Noon. Once registered, clients are assigned market dollars and can drop in during operating hours to shop.
The Kinmount and Area Food Bank will officially open to the public Dec. 13, serving 45 families.
According to Kinmount and Area Food Bank Chair Grace MacDonald, it will be open every other Thursday, based on a schedule that alternates with the Coboconk Food Bank and will “serve 45 families who were using either the Coboconk or Minden Food Bank,” says MacDonald.
MacDonald chairs a group of volunteers that have been working over the last year to open the much needed local resource. Finding local sponsors, a location that had a health board-certified kitchen and getting police checks completed were just some of the things that MacDonald and her committee had to accomplish in order to open. In the end the group decided on the Kinmount Baptist Church (4937 Monk Rd., Kinmount.)
Kawartha Lakes Food Source (KLFS) is opening a new food bank in Kinmount — the home town of local MPP Laurie Scott.
The new food bank is made possible with funding from Food Banks Canada and Enterprise Holding Foundation. It will be located at the Baptist Church (side entrance) at 4937 Monck Rd., and is scheduled to open December 13. It will operate two Thursdays a month. The new food bank will help to serve the northern region of City of Kawartha Lakes. The Kinmount and Area Food Bank aims to serve clients in their own community, increase their access to food and reduce barriers such as lack of transportation or distance to travel.