Carrington Food Bank warns of funding shortages amid surging demand

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An organization that feeds people living in poverty in western Ottawa says it may have to cut hours and programs as the number of people using its services has increased dramatically. increase.

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The Caldwell Family Center operates food banks and meal programs, as well as employment assistance and clothing assistance.

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But Marilyn Matheson, the center’s executive director, said rising inflation and rising rents have led to a surge in demand for hot meals and food baskets, and the organization’s funding has not kept up.

“This is a really critical situation,” Matheson said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s not one thing that’s driving demand. It’s a combination of food inflation and people struggling to manage their rent. is.”

She said the number of people using the center’s services has increased 55% since last year, with new records being broken every week. Last week, Caldwell delivered her 468 grocery boxes, and in one day she helped 148 people.

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The center is also providing nearly double the number of meals it did last year (500 to 600 hot meals a day), with about 10 new families seeking help each week.

Matheson said the center needs $117,000 in additional funding to keep the program at current levels and stocked on food bank shelves for the rest of the year. Without new sources of funding, the center may be forced to scale back services temporarily, she said.

“This means that the people we try to keep at home can lose their homes,” Matheson warned.

Caldwell Family Center receives primary funding from the City of Ottawa. It accounted for 43% of the center’s budget in 2018, but only 28% this year. The remainder of the center’s funding comes from individual and corporate donations, foundations, and fundraising.

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Last year, Caldwell received $288,000 from the city’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which was reduced to $170,000 this year. That fund will run out of him at the end of September.

Matheson said the organization is working hard to raise money to fill the gap and will host a major fundraising event, Harvest of Hope, at Strathmere Farm on October 5.

“We need funds now. We spoke with the city and they said no additional emergency funds were available,” she said. ‘A lot of agencies are struggling’

Established in 1986, Caldwell Family Center is a non-profit corporation. For many people in Carrington and the surrounding area, food banks are the only option.

The center was started thanks to Sister Thelma Marion, a Catholic nun, and three members of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. They moved to the Carrington area in her early 1980s and began helping families in need from outside the home.

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Eventually, new space was found in the nearby Ottawa Community Housing Complex, and the Caldwell Family Center officially opened in 1986 to accommodate the influx of immigrants and refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia.

The center continues to serve new Canadians, some of whom live in emergency shelters on Carling Avenue. At the center, he provides an on-site food bank at the shelter once a week.

Matheson said the center helped five local families keep their homes this year by defending them before the Landlords and Tenants Commission. I see people doing it,” she said.

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Carrington Food Bank warns of funding shortages amid surging demand

Source link Carrington Food Bank warns of funding shortages amid surging demand

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