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Food Scarcity – How Local Food Charities Are Taking COVID-19 In Stride

How will COVID-19 affect those who were already struggling with food scarcity? Local charities are working hard to innovate new ways of doing business to ensure their clients’ needs are met.


According to their website “Food for Life is the collaborative leader in sourcing, sorting and sharing fresh food in Halton Region and Hamilton. Through 107 Food for Life programs and agencies we serve more than 18,000 people struggling with hunger each month. In 2019, over 4 million pounds of food was collected and distributed. www.foodforlife.ca"


While several cities have cancelled their Food for Life Program, Kati Legge says Acton’s will continue to run with some changes.


The St Albans program will run this Thursday with the following changes:

  1. The food will be pre-bagged, so the "shop" format is suspended.

  2. Vulnerable volunteers are asked to please stay home.

  3. St Albans is closed so distribution will be out of the parking lot.

  4. Where possible, please leave the kids at home.

  5. Those who are sick or have been asked to isolate may still need food, please call Kati Legge at (905)691-7717 if that is your situation.

  6. If you need food and aren’t already part of FFL, please contact Kati so arrangements can be made.


Because many of the volunteers are seniors, Kati is looking for volunteers who are not vulnerable or caregivers for the vulnerable. Please call her if you can help with this modified program on Thursday morning.


Food for Life Seniors program will also continue to run on Thursdays, says Sarah Brophy, with the following changes.


The hub will not be open to the public. Changes will include:

  1. Pre-bagged food will be delivered to seniors at home. (drop off no contact)

  2. Halton Regional Health Unit will be involved.

  3. Sarah has offered to pick up anything seniors need, to be dropped with their regular delivery. She can be contacted at (905)699-3687.


Food4Kids is a program through which packages of healthy food are prepared by volunteers and delivered to schools each Friday to ensure children have nourishment over the weekend. There are more than 100 children in Halton Hills struggling through each weekend without food. Obviously, schools closing significantly impacts this program. www.food4kidshalton.ca


Gayle Kabbash at Food4Kids (F4K) Halton says she is “normally humbled by community support” and this challenge has her feeling that daily. “There has been an outpouring of support through phone calls, emails and Facebook messages asking, ‘what can I do?’”


Typically, the F4K cost to feed one child for a weekend is $10. To that end, grocery gift cards will be mailed out to participants in the amount of $10/child/week. Mailing addresses are being verified with the schools and emails will be sent to parents reminding them to check their mailbox.


If you want to support Food4Kids Halton, monetary donations can be made directly on their website or grocery gift cards can be mailed in.


Acton Foodshare will continue to operate regular hours on Tuesdays, says Volunteer Fran Morris. In the Acton community there are over 69 children and 142 adults accessing the food bank every month. More than 50 % need to visit the food bank a second time each month. www.actonfoodshare.com


In light of COVID-19, only one client is allowed in at a time. Additionally, the annual Youth Group food drive has been postponed. Donations can be made at Sobeys, No Frills, Giant Tiger, or at the foodbank.


The Georgetown Bread Basket will also continue with regular hours for “as long as we can” says Donna Baker, Chair. Unlike the other services covered here, the Bread Basket has been inundated with requests. “People we haven’t seen in over a year are returning.” Fortunately, there is a group of dedicated volunteers keeping things running.


The Bread Basket has moved from a “shopping” model to a “hamper” model to maintain social distancing. Hampers contain standard, non perishable items. Clients are met outside to discuss their perishable needs and their hamper is brought out to them.

“Our normal sources of donations are drying up” said Baker. All food drives have been cancelled and or postponed. Grocery stores that normally donated perishables near expiration have nothing to give as they are cleaned out. “Instead of buying food, please go to the website and make a donation.” Donations allow organizers to bulk buy stretching the dollar value. For more information go to www.georgetownbreadbasket.ca


Links2Care has had to modify/suspend many of their services. www.links2care.ca In relation to food these include:

  1. Meals on Wheels: Operating normally with added screening. Meals are being left at the door, so they are easily collected by the recipient.

  2. Congregate Dining: On hold until further notice. The spaces where these were held are closed. Efforts are being made to arrange phone check ins.

  3. Wheels TO Meals: On hold until further notice.


According to Fabienne Prior, Manager Community Services Links2Care, they are “doing ok, for now.” Most volunteers are still volunteering which is important to this essential service, but they are experiencing shortages of things like hand sanitizer. For more information go to https://www.links2care.ca


Those requiring assistance can call the main office (905)873-6502.


COVID-19 has certainly highlighted the giving nature of our community. As measures increase and timelines stretch, more and more of us may find ourselves turning to these food resources. If you are fortunate enough to not need the resource and able to support them, please consider donating either financially or with your time.




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