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Pressure on food banks in Simcoe County continues to rise

The demand for food banks in local communities is increasing as more people have to choose between affording groceries or housing.

Barrie's Food Bank has now had to extend its hours on Wednesdays due to the significant increase in clients.

"The numbers keep going up every month. We're up over 83 percent over last year for the month of July. We just added two more hours of service on Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. till 12:00 p.m.," said Barrie Food Bank Executive Director Sharon Palmer.

The Sharing Place in Orillia is also experiencing high volumes.

"June was one of our highest months with almost 2,400 people coming through, which is a huge increase. We've seen numbers as high as 40 percent more than regular. A lot of the people that come in are dual earners in the family, so that's another first that we're seeing," said Bisma Khan with The Sharing Place.

Officials with both agencies said they have seen a rise in younger people coming through the doors.

"Between 18 and 30, we've seen approximately a 17 to 20 percent increase. A lot of young people, even though they're working sometimes with two people in the same household, they can't afford rent because it's upwards of $2,000 for an apartment, and people just can't do it. They have to figure out where they're going to spend their money, on food or on rent," said Khan.

"We're seeing lots of younger individuals coming to the food bank more so than in the past. I'd say it's more in the 18 to 25 age bracket that we're seeing more," said Palmer.

Both Palmer and Khan said these numbers are alarming and added that they don't see them coming down anytime soon, which is why both agencies need monetary donations.

Barrie's Food Bank also needs reusable bags and roughly a dozen volunteers. Top Stories

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