Local food banks receive federal funding to improve food security in the community

ANTIGONISH: The Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Nova says food insecurity is something far too many Canadians experience as a reality in their day-to-day lives, and as a result, a number of local food banks, including two in Antigonish, are receiving federal assistance.

Food banks and other local food organizations across Canada are facing an increased demand for their services and added pressure from shortages in donations and volunteers. Now more than ever, they need continued support to offer the crucial services Canadians rely upon to feel safe and healthy.

In response, Sean Fraser announced last week $100,109 from the Government of Canada to improve food security for hundreds of families in Pictou County, Antigonish and Eastern Shore facing social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Food banks have played an integral role to protect the most vulnerable members of our community during the ongoing public health emergency,” he said. “This support will enable them to continue their operations and allow our community members to focus on the well-being of their families, rather than putting food on the table.”

As part of his government’s COVID-19 response, this funding is part of the $100 million Emergency Fund for food security announced by Prime Minister Trudeau in April to position food banks and local food organizations early in the pandemic to respond to increased community needs.

The Antigonish Community Food Bank received $12,013.22, while the St. Francis Xavier University Student Food Resource Centre received $3,268.29. The remaining funds were distributed between seven local food organizations in Pictou County, along with two in Eastern Shore.

Fraser highlighted how during the pandemic the importance of keeping food on the table for vulnerable members of our community has been drawn more clearly into focus, with one-in-seven Canadian households experiencing food insecurity.

“I learned that although monetary donations were solid in the early days of the pandemic, food donations in our community dropped off significantly,” he said. “Donations of non-perishable items, such as canned goods or Kraft Dinner, and personal hygiene products would be greatly appreciated.”

More than 1,800 food banks and local food organizations across Canada have been helped by the funds from the Prime Minister’s announcement, which is estimated will help serve over two million Canadians with six million meals.