Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay charity that feeds the hungry facing increased demand for meals

A Thunder Bay charity that feeds the hungry says it's already served more meals than it did in all of 2019.

The Dew Drop Inn had served more meals by the end of October than it did in all of 2019

The Dew Drop Inn was seeing increases in demand for its services before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It dished out 525 Easter dinners in a span of two hours in 2019, more than doubling what it served the previous year. Executive director Michael Quibell says COVID-19 has increased demand even more. (Facebook)

A Thunder Bay, Ont., charity that feeds the hungry says it's already served more meals than it did in all of 2019.

The Dew Drop Inn served 92,025 meals between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2020.

It served 90,434 all of last year.

In October alone, the organization served 11,087 meals, executive director Michael Quibell told CBC. That' is up more than 3,000 from October of last year. 

While demand for the Dew Drop's services was increasing before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Quibell said it has only further increased the need in the community.

"A lot of people that are having interruptions in their employment, they're having interruptions in their income, and that's sending them to us because of the food insecurity they're experiencing," Quibell said.

Currently, the Drew Drop – which is serving take-out meals only due to the pandemic – is on track to serve around 110,000 meals by the end of the year, he said.

Quibell is grateful to the community for all the donations that have helped meet the increased need, he said.

Some restaurants which closed their doors during the pandemic lockdown period offered their extra food to the organization, and the Dew Drop recently received the leftovers from the shuttered Hoito's pantry, he added.

"There was a lot of frozen foods, a lot of proteins, soup bases, just general stuff, food service stuff, that they had in their kitchen that we could use for our meals," he said.

But, Quibell said, he's concerned about what will happen in the New Year if demand keeps growing at a time when donations tend to drop off.

"We've advanced to yellow, so what would happen if we advance to orange or red or if there was another lockdown that was going to push more people into food insecurity?" he asked.  "That could raise our numbers up again, so that is a concern. That's probably our biggest concern right now."