Back to school means increased demand at local food banks
In a little more than a week, schoolyards will be bustling with children as they make their return to the classroom.
While most think of back to school as backpacks and buses, some have the added concern of how to fill lunch bags.
One in eight Canadian households is food insecure. That means four-million people, including one-million children, live in a home that struggles to put food on the table each day.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reports that locally, 12 percent of households experience some form of food insecurity every single day.
It's something The Sharing Place Food Centre struggles with each year.
"We've got about 150 more families coming through our facility the past few months, and that puts a big strain on our system," says Chris Peacock.
The Orillia food bank hands out more than 400 lunch snack bags a month, in addition to contributing fresh food from its community gardens to other school programs.
As the kids return to school, the demand increases.
"We help about 13 elementary schools, supplying fresh food to their program," Peacock says. "Every school has a different breakfast and snack program."
The Barrie Food Bank helped more than 33,000 people last year, many of them children. "Basically we have 500 children that come through the food bank every single month," says Peter Sundborg.
Veronica is a food bank client and admits times were tough when she was young, but the support of the food banks made a big difference. "I was in a low-income family when I was a child. I used breakfast clubs and stuff like that because my family couldn't afford to feed me."
Food banks right across the region need donations to send kids to school with healthy lunches and snacks.
School-friendly foods, healthy snacks and peanut-free products are needed.
Along with school snacks, pasta and sauces, cereal, canned proteins, rice and baby items are always in demand.