Kitchener-Waterloo

New van helps Wilmot Family Resource Centre cope with double the need for food

The Wilmot Family Resource Centre in New Hamburg is working to get fresh produce to people in Wilmot and Wellesley townships and a new van is helping them reach more people. That's important because the need is growing.

Centre has seen number of people needing food double between January and June

The Wilmot Family Resource Centre received $23,000 from the federal government to help fund a new van that staff use to deliver fresh produce to people who need food. (Wilmot Family Resource Centre)

A new van is helping the Wilmot Family Resource Centre deliver fresh produce to rural families in need.

Trisha Robinson, the centre's executive director, says they've seen the growing need for food. In January, they served about 225 people. In June, it was more than 400 individuals.

"We know that food is medicine and how important it is for the people that we serve," Robinson said Wednesday during an announcement from Kitchener-Conestoga MP Tim Louis. The federal government will provide $23,000 to the centre through the local food infrastructure fund. That money will be used to help fund the van and other food initiatives, like setting up a booth at local markets when it's safe to do so.

"We're just looking to serve our community better," Robinson said. "We're trying to provide everything that they need."

Van 'made a huge difference'

Mary MacKeigan, the program and fund developer for the centre, said they've already purchased the van and put it to use and it's already had an impact. Previously, it would take several trips in volunteers' cars to get food to local families but now it can all be done with one trip in the van.

"Certainly the pandemic has increased that need and we have also increased our efficiency because of the van," she said. "We haven't had the van that long … but it's made a huge difference."

Robinson says they offer porch drop-offs of food during the COVID-19 emergency to people fearful of shopping, who may have health concerns or who don't have vehicles.

MacKeigan says, after the delivery runs, staff return and report that recipients are appreciative.

"A little smile right now, I think for all of us, means a whole lot," MacKeigan said. "You can't quantify that."

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