The Covid19 Pandemic has left many individuals and families in the Kemptville area in need of emergency food. Unemployment, reduced working hours, reduced access to social services, school closures and changes in family dynamics are all contributing factors to the increased need this Spring.
A local group of women who call themselves “100 Women Who Care in North Grenville” has raised $3,500 for The Salvation Army in Kemptville’s food bank to help keep shelves full in support of the community.
The group, led by Anne Kotlarchuk, Samantha Rivet Stevenson, Su Oullette and Tracy McDonald, first began meeting in 2017 and now has 114 members, meet quarterly to decide which charity they will support. During this unique time of pandemic, the “100 Women Who Care North Grenville” invited everyone in the community to participate in this quarters giving. Men, women and children were all welcome to attend.
“One of our leading ladies heard from Salvation Army Pastor Erin Wong in Kemptville about how the number of households in need of emergency food had tripled since the pandemic began. “100 Women Who Care North Grenville” then agreed to support The Salvation Army food bank,” said Anne. “Our group raised $58,000 in the last 3 years for different charities in the North Grenville area.”
Pastor Erin and Calvin Wong made a presentation to the group at their meeting in May and explained the need in the community. Pastor Erin told the group The Salvation Army in Kemptville went from supporting 37 households in February to just over 100 in the month of May.
“The increased demand for service has meant that the food bank reserves from the “Fill-A-Bag program” and other food drives typically lasting until the next fall have been exhausted, and all food is now being procured,” said Pastor Erin. “It’s been a huge blessing to have those food donations which lasted until now. A few of our events planned for this summer that normally help with large food donations have been cancelled because of the pandemic.”
Those coming to The Salvation Army for help include seniors, those at risk of homelessness and those who are homeless, as well as people living in community and supportive housing. Families that may have never come to The Salvation Army in Kemptville before, including families who have recently lost employment or situations where one parent has to stay home to look after the children who are not in school have also increased due to COVID-19. In some cases, grandparents are looking after grandchildren and that increases the cost of food.
Pastor Erin says The Salvation Army is so grateful to the “100 Women Who Care North Grenville” for their generous support during this time when supplies have been low.
“We are deeply moved by their heart for the most vulnerable in our community and for their quick action to meet the need,” said Pastor Erin. “They have supported The Salvation Army in the past and we know we can rely on them in the future as they continue to care for people that really need them in times of crises.”
One client told The Salvation Army “I don’t know what we would do without the food bank after both my wife and I lost our jobs.” Another explained “With three adult children with special needs, I don’t know how I would do it without you guys.”
For those that would like to support The Salvation Army in Kemptville Food Bank, monetary donations are the most effective way to support so staff can purchase items in bulk. For those who wish to donate food, local grocery stores including Walmart, B&H Your Community Grocer and Food Basics have collection bins for The Salvation Army.
To reach The Salvation Army in Kemptville please call 613-258-0111. Donations to The Salvation Army stay local. To support The Salvation Army visit www.salvationarmy.ca or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.