May 25, 2022

Not every Canadian has a refrigerator and a pantry full of food.

More than 34,000 people in the Waterloo Region feel what it is like to be hungry, said Kim Wilhelm, the director of development at the local food bank.

The holiday season is the busiest time of year at the Waterloo Region food bank and people who use the service say a lack of food is just one of the problems impacting some local residents.

“Here in Canada, food is not the only problem,” said Chris Martin, a regular user of the food bank. 

“There are mental illness struggles which can happen to anyone, so it’s not just food insecurity. It relates to so many other things like housing.”

The Waterloo Region food bank aims to provide 1,500 healthy hampers in the region this year. Falling a little back goal, Wilhelm said they could raise funds for about 920 healthy hampers.

Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas are often times when donations to the food bank increase, she added.   

“Last year, we provided 3.5 million meals here in Waterloo Region,” said Wilhelm.

Community event like Sounds of the Season hosted at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Dec. 6, 2019 help raise money for the food bank.

“It’s really commendable to see how our community people come together to support the food banks for a good cause,” said San Mitchel, an audience member at the Sounds of the Season event.  

By enlisting volunteers, the food bank itself saves money on labour costs, allowing donated funds to go to food, rather than overhead expenses.

“We sometimes have 20 people in this warehouse every day or more up to 60 people that are volunteering their time, so we don’t have to pay staff to do some of the essential work that we do in the community,” said Wilhelm.”

“We hope to provide at least 3.5 million meals like last year if not a little bit more.”

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