CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Mike MacDonald discovered it unsettling to see the document numbers of individuals accessing the meals financial institution in the summertime of 2022.
As president of the Higher Room Hospitality Ministry, MacDonald is used to seeing a excessive stage of meals insecurity — however it often comes within the winter, across the vacation season. This time, August topped the meals financial institution’s charts with 918 shopper households, the very best quantity ever.
Since then, inflation has stayed excessive, and demand continues to develop. The Higher Room is now on tempo to serve over 1,200 shoppers this month, smashing the not too long ago set information, MacDonald mentioned in an Oct. 21 SaltWire interview.
“Proper now, we’re averaging 300 households per week, and principally (in) October of final yr, we noticed 609 households within the month. So, we’re form of on tempo to double that.”
This month, on Oct. 29, the Higher Room is partnering with the Y’s Service Membership — previously the Y’s Males’s Membership — to carry the Y’s annual meals drive.
Whereas the meals and fundraiser began 37 years in the past, issues have seemed a bit totally different since COVID-19. For years, a whole lot of volunteers went door-to-door gathering gadgets from Islanders. Now, beneficiant residents are requested to return to one in all 13 drive-thru places throughout Charlottetown and Cornwall, MacDonald mentioned.
The drive additionally used to happen in the course of the night on a Monday, however now it’ll occur from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on a Saturday.
Numbers have been down ultimately yr’s occasion, so MacDonald and his colleagues hope the change in schedule will assist carry in additional donations. Nonetheless, the Higher Room units no objectives for the donations, MacDonald mentioned.
“We’re hoping for extra meals than we have now at this time. … Whether or not it’s 17,000 kilos of meals or it’s 25,000 kilos of meals, we’ll be extraordinarily proud of no matter we obtain.”
The Higher Room additionally accepts monetary donations, which the group can use to purchase contemporary produce and fill in gaps from donations. Alternatively, the meals drive is a perfect time to donate precise gadgets as a result of there are over 100 volunteers available to assist transfer items, MacDonald mentioned.
By way of explicit gadgets, MacDonald famous demand this yr has been significantly excessive for cereal, peanut butter, granola bars and different snacks — gadgets which may match a faculty lunch.
Y’s service membership
Invoice Irwin of the Y’s has been round to see the rising want for meals safety in P.E.I. He has been a membership member for 50 years and has been concerned with each meals drive for the reason that first, he mentioned in an Oct. 21 SaltWire interview.
“The primary yr, we thought it was a one-time occasion. However (the Higher Room) saved going, and so we saved going at it.”
In the summertime of 2022, the Y’s rebranded from the Y’s Males’s Membership to the Y’s Service Membership. This really marks a return to the group’s authentic type because the service department of the YMCA, Irwin mentioned.
“One (girl) has joined, and we have now two extra coming in on Nov. 9, I imagine it’s,” he mentioned. “We’d like some new concepts, maybe new initiatives, too.”
Whereas the drive isn’t meant as a recruitment occasion, it’ll give the membership an opportunity to let individuals know what it’s all about and to speak to locals about different initiatives.
Irwin will probably be working on the Atlantic Superstore location in Charlottetown from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., however he famous volunteers are welcome to work as a lot or as little as they’re in a position. Readers with questions can name the Higher Room at 902-892-7092 or electronic mail at [email protected].
Logan MacLean is a variety reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He could be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @loganmaclean94.