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by Doug Harvey
The Port Stanley Food Bank
The Volunteer Food Bank Staff from left to right - Kathy Zyeurra,
Marilyn Kazmer, Karen Kerkhof, Pat Clintin, Cindy Litt, Edna Janze

The need for a food bank in the Port Stanley area, seems to have started when the Ford plant started to close, and that caused a domino effect with local manufacturing companies that supplied parts and services to the Ford Assembly Plant. Most of the jobs that people lost, were good paying jobs, and with no real opportunities of employment at the same rate of pay in the area, people would either try to get one of the few jobs that were available at a lower rate of pay, or take a chance and move to an area that did have work. Employment in the area, has never been able to match the level of prosperity that the Ford Plant achieved during it's life in Talbotville.

Since that time our region has created a new class of people called the working poor. These are hard working people that find that their wages are not keeping up with the rising costs of food, rents, utilities, and everything else that is constantly going up.

Edna Janze, the Food Bank Administrator said, that, the people that use the food bank, do it out of need, a desperate need to help feed themselves or their family. Twenty-two people came this month to the Port Stanley food bank, from all backgrounds, including families with children, employed people whose low wages do not cover basic living essentials, individuals on social assistance, and people living on a fixed income, including seniors and people with disabilities. The food bank motto is "We never turn anybody down, and never say no". Even transient people off the street that have a need, we help, we have had emergency calls from people that have had situations get out of control, and are in need, and we help.

It costs a thousand dollars a month to supply all the food that people get from the Port Stanley Food Bank each month. If you divide the Twenty Two people that come to the food bank into the cost per month of a Thousand Dollars, that equals $45.45 per visitor a month. The Elgin St. Thomas Public Health put out a statement recently stating that the weekly cost of groceries in Elgin County for a family of four has risen nine per cent over the last three years to $193.61 a week. food bank Staff, all mentioned that they struggle to satisfy the need, but find that the need is bigger than they currently can handle. What is also surprising is that the food bank supplies not just Port Stanley, but the area around, like Union, Sparta, and Fingal.

None of the Port Stanley Food Bank staff are paid, all are volunteers, some food banks pay for help, but not this one. food bank staff work under the guidance of the Church Board, and are always held accountable for the operation of the food bank.

Edna Janze, the Food Bank Administrator said, that, with greater need and rising costs this year, we are short of funds, this is the first time that I have seen the shelves this bare. Funds that were given to us by the church when we first started the food bank, that we have managed to keep through the years, are now being used to fund a growing percentage of the food supplies that the food bank gives out.

The food bank has been operating on the generous support from local Business, Clubs, and Organizations like the Port Stanley Foodland, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 410, the Kettle Creek Golf and Country Club, the Port Stanley United Church, the St. John's Presbyterian Church, the Stanley Optimist Club, the Port Stanley Lions Club, the Port Stanley Lioness Club, the Port Stanley Leos Club, and the Port Stanley Sailors Jr Hockey Club.

Don Bell from the United Church has been helping sell the t-shirts this year, which brought in close to $700 dollars, which helps a lot. Another important contribution comes from the House of Lights around the corner, that displays all the lights at Christmas, their donation of canned goods helped keep us going through January, into February.

This year was the first year that we had to do a fundraiser, before that, our donations were able to keep up with the demand. Now, we need to find more ways to gather the funds necessary to keep the food bank going, to keep up with the growing demand placed on the food bank. The food bank accepts donations at any time, the most urgently needed food and household items are pasta (canned or dry) and pasta sauces, canned and frozen meats and fish, meat alternatives (peanut butter, soy, assorted nuts), canned goods (beans, soups, and stews), dairy (fresh, canned, and powdered milk), canned vegetables and fruit, whole grain cereals, infant foods and baby formula, bathroom tissue and diapers, and personal hygiene products. Help make a difference, support the Port Stanley Food Bank.


Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2017 11:01:52 AM EST

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