Unfortunate and never ending story

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It’s a story that we are reading more often than not — the local food bank running low on supplies, shelves bare and pleas for help.

As was the case late last week as the Summerside Salvation Army’s Karen Mallett made a public plea via this newspaper for donations.

Shelves were visibly empty at the food bank, which serves East Prince, and donations so low and demand so great that the Salvation Army, for most of the summer, almost weekly was spending between $1,000 and $3,000 on supplies.

The money, taken from its own coffers, came from donations and profits of the Salvation Army’s thrift store. And there were plenty of other areas where that money could have been used, from helping provide assistance to someone travelling off Island for medical reasons or various other programs run by the organization.

It seems that every few months this story makes headlines.

The need, apparently, is great. More and more Island families are finding it tough to make ends meet, leaving tough choices to be made — pay the bills or buy food. The latter, unfortunately, often loses out.

What else can a family do when there are children to feed and nothing in the cupboard but to turn to the food bank for help?

As Mallett said, a food hamper, meant to provide sustenance for three to five days, is meant as an emergency measure, not a regular way for a family to get groceries.

A family can only be eligible once a month for a food hamper, leaving one to think, just how are they getting by the rest of the month? What are they eating? Are families — our friends and neighbours — going hungry?

While many Islanders are close to being like those visiting our food banks, living paycheque to paycheque, there are others living comfortably with means to give and help a neighbour in need.

And it doesn’t take much to help.

A few boxes of macaronia and cheese, canned soup, beans or any other non-perishable item can go a long way for a family that has nothing to eat.

So, the next time you are filling your grocery list at the local supermarket, why not add a few things to your cart to donate. Or leave a few of those treats behind and replace them with these food-hamper staples.

There are food bank drop-off bins at most local grocery stores.

And, who knows, it might just be someone you know that you are helping out.

   

 

Organizations: Salvation Army

Geographic location: Iceland, East Prince

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