Kitchener-Waterloo

Demand at Guelph Food Bank nearly doubles over last 5 years

​The number of people using the Guelph Food Bank has nearly doubled over the last five years, according to spokesperson Pauline Cripps.

MP Lloyd Longfield to host town hall on food security and hunger Monday night

​The number of people using the Guelph Food Bank has nearly doubled over the last five years, according to spokesperson Pauline Cripps. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

The number of people using the Guelph Food Bank has nearly doubled over the last five years, says spokesperson Pauline Cripps.

The food bank is currently serving between 60 and 80 families per day, and seeing an increasing number of children in need.

"We are definitely seeing steady need for our services here. It's varying numbers coming through the doors, but a growing need," Cripps said.

"We increase every year. Last year, we put out over 1.6 million pounds of food, so it shows you there's a lot of need in the community and surrounding areas."

She said the number of "working poor," clients, people who are underemployed or aren't earning enough to feed their families, is also increasing.

"We have a lot of clients, for example, that can possibly be employed but they might be working low-wage jobs, part time jobs," she said. "When there's a family to take into consideration, it's not necessarily enough income to be dealing with that."

About 36 per cent of the people the agency serves are children. That's up five per cent in the last two years.

MP to hold town hall on hunger

On Monday night, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield is hosting a town hall on food security and hunger in the constituency.

Dr. Brady Deaton, the chair of food security in the department of food for the University of Guelph, will be speaking, as well as Gavin Dandy, the director of SEED, a community food project at the Guelph Community Health Centre.

Randalin Ellery, the co-ordinator of the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, is also scheduled to speak.

The goal of the meeting is to come up with recommendations to bring back to the federal government for how to tackle food insecurity.

Cripps said the Guelph Food Bank plans to send a representative.

"I'm interested to see what comes out of it. I think this is the first one that I have seen come about in Guelph. I haven't seen much focus put on food and security from the government level, at least in this city so far," she said, adding agencies within and around Guelph are already working together to share resources when possible.

The Food Security Town Hall is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Club on Ferguson Street in Guelph.