The Killarney and Area Food Bank is preparing for the winter months ahead with a great start – that being the end of October’s food drive hosted by two of Killarney’s largest churches.

Food Bank Treasurer, Marie Jensen, says the 5,000 pounds of food collected that night will hopefully carry them into next summer.  She feels fairly confident heading into the winter season with the shelves full.

“Danny Groening from the Bay Avenue Church together with the Lakeside Community Church, did their annual food drive for us on Halloween night, and we collected almost 5,000 pounds of food – that’s a record for us!”

Jensen shares that ordinarily that amount of non-perishables would last them well into next summer.  However, in 2020 the October collection of goods didn’t last quite that long.

“The shelves got pretty bare by about July or August,” she notes. “We actually had to dip into our building fund to purchase food this past summer.  But we’re hopeful that this year will be a little bit different. Hopefully the demand won’t be quite as big.”

“Of course, the price of food goes up all the time,” adds Jensen, “and so that puts pressure on our clients as well as our ability to purchase supplies for them too.”

The last 2 years of the pandemic has affected them in unexpected ways.

“The CERB payment actually reduced our demand in 2020.  In 2021, it’s been going up and we’ve been averaging close to 20 food baskets every 2 weeks through the summer and over the Fall.”

“We often see a huge increase in the Fall, but sometimes that increase doesn’t happen until after Christmas.”

The local food bank has a few upgrades on their wish list; a new roof and upgrades to their shelving system.  The Killarney Kinsmen Club’s recent donation of $10,000 to the Food Bank has been earmarked for those projects.

As well upgrade the food bank’s cold-room storage is needed, but they will be pursuing specific grants for that project.

Jensen praises the dedication of their volunteers over the past 20 months what with all the restrictions.  Guidelines prevented clients to come into the building to receive their food hampers, so curb-side pickup was used.

“Now that many people are vaccinated and the regulations have loosened up a little bit, most of the clients can access the building in person to do their own shopping.”

With the shelves currently well-stocked but looking to the unknowns over the next few months, Jensen says both a monetary donation and any and all non-perishable goods are welcome.

“Cash is always good, and any dry goods like pasta, rice or canned goods are great. We have a lot of generous donors who donate meat to us as well, but cash is always good!”