Sudbury food bank 'far down the line' from having enough donations

Dozens of rows of empty crates tower up to the ceiling of the Sudbury Food Bank warehouse.

Service accepts non-perishables, household items and financial donations

Sudbury's food bank usually has only one skid of boxes empty at this time of year, but dozens of crates need to be filled this season. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Dozens of rows of empty crates tower up to the ceiling of the Sudbury Food Bank warehouse. 

"Everything there is empty," said Dan Xilon, the organization's executive director. 

"Normally we have one skid of empty boxes. So that gives you an idea of just how far down the line we are at the present time."

The food bank usually gets enough donations in the summer to feed people throughout the holiday season, according to Xilon, but that did not happen this year.
Dan Xilon, the executive director of the Sudbury Food Bank, is encouraging people to make donations. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

"I think it's just the economy, the pressure, user fees," he said adding that his organization is seeing more working people, seniors and students using its services. 

"Less and less stuff is being covered. More and more stuff you're paying for."

Food bank user tries to leave service for others who 'really need it'

Charles Tossell knows about that.

The 33-year-old Sudburian has to use the food bank because his disability cheques do not stretch far enough, he said, but he tries to do so sparingly.
Charles Tossell tries to use Sudbury's food bank sparingly to let those in greater need get help, even though he needs the service. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

"During the months of December and January, I'll use the food bank and that will be it," Tossell said.

"I try to not use it as much throughout the year and leave it for others that really need it."

Xilon is encouraging people to give what they can to help those in Tossell's position. 

'Better to give something than nothing'

The food bank especially needs non-perishable protein items, such as tuna, peanut butter and baby food.

It also collects money and household items, like diapers, toilet paper and toothpaste. 

"We understand you might not be able to do what you've done in the past," Xilon said.

"But it's better to give something than nothing."

While Xilon is a little concerned by the number of donation boxes that still need to be filled, he has confidence that the giving spirit of the season will pull them through. 

"No one's asking to put yourself out," Xilon said.

"What we're saying is if there's any way you can do anything, please do so."

Donations for the Sudbury Food Bank can be accepted during special broadcasts of CBC Radio's Morning North and Up North on Fri. Dec. 9.

A list of what other food banks in northern Ontario need can be found here.

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Senior reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a senior reporter for CBC's Parliamentary Bureau based in Ottawa. She previously worked in Toronto, Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter at @CBCOlivia. Story tips welcome: