As the holiday season gets closer, Mississauga Food Banks is expecting an almost double increase of users in their service in December
The Mississauga Food Banks is a network of food banks across Mississauga. On Monday, they started their yearly holiday drive with their largest goal yet of $2 million Last year, the goal was $1.7 million in the same time frame. The goal is not an arbitrary number. CEO of Mississauga Food Banks Meghan Nicholls says that the goal is 25 per cent of their annual needed funding. She says it will be to feed people through the winter months.
Across the GTA, more and more people are using food banks with records being broken every month. In March, the Daily Bread Food Bank saw over 270,000 people in one month alone. At the Mississauga Food Bank, they are seeing almost double the amount of people from last year.
“When we look at our food bank use numbers in the month of October, it was just shy of 17,000 people. That’s 50 per cent More than it was in October 2022. Every month since June, on average, we’ve been serving 50 per cent more people compared to the same month in the previous year,” says Meghan Nicholls, CEO of Mississauga Food Bank. “In December this year, during the holidays, we’re anticipating serving about 19,000 people. That’s 8,000 more people than came to us last December.”
Nicholls has been working at the Mississauga Food Bank for 15 years and has been CEO for the last six years. She says that while most clientele were on a form of social assistance the increase of people has come from families and newcomers. Nicholls says that a few of the newer clients used to donate food.
“5 per cent of the whole city is using the food bank, so it could be anybody. And it could be anyone who’s life from the outside may not look like they need a food bank,” says Nicholls. “I think sometimes it can be one disaster for people who have a broken down marriage, a lost job, a health incident and accident, something like this can really set people back financially and they can find themselves needing to rely on a food bank.
With a large number of people to service, the funding has to go towards the 60 agencies that partner with the Mississauga Food Banks to remain open. Since the Food Banks are not government funded, they rely heavily on the community to help keep the lights on.
“We’re not a government agency. We’re not a government program. Most food banks receive little to no funding from any level of government. And so for folks out there who are worried, we’re all seeing the news. We’re all understanding. We’re all feeling the increased costs of the grocery store ourselves,” says Nicholls.
More information on the holiday drive can be found on their website.
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