The Kanata Food Cupboard is facing a steady decline of corporate donations.
Donations from businesses are down by more than 80 per cent when compared to this time last year, said chair Marc Dumais. The board met last month to pore over the numbers; expenditures and community donations are in line with what was budgeted, but corporate donations are almost non-existent.
“The impact on us is quite significant,” he said, adding this is the first time the food cupboard has experienced such a drop in funds.
The food cupboard receives about 17 per cent of its funding from the city while 83 per cent comes from donations.
“The Kanata community is always generous,” said Dumais. “The only reason we can run this is the generous donations.”
The Kanata Food Cupboard helps an average of 200 families a month. Karen Waters, client co-ordinator, said the highest number she’s seen is 225 families in need of assisstance.
Food Banks Canada released its 2012 HungerCount report and food cupboard usage is up across the nation.
According to the report, “The need for Canada’s charitable food assistance programs grew in 2012, and they are now assisting more people than ever. In March of this year, 882,188 people received food from a food bank in Canada. This is an increase of 2.4 per cent over 2011, and is 31 per cent higher than in 2008, before the recession began.”
In Ontario, 413,000 people used food cupboards in March 2012, up from 400,400 in the same month a year earlier.
Since 2008, the number of people across the province using a food bank has risen by 98,700 people, or 31 per cent – the same as the national average.
Alberta has seen the highest jump in usage, up 59 per cent since March 2008, with Manitoba coming in slightly behind at 57 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province to see a decline in food bank usage with a drop of 0.8 per cent since 2008.
“It’s a trend across the country,” said Dumais.
With the Christmas season approaching, Dumais said the food cupboard is planning on ramping up its fundraising.
“We’re behind right now,” he said. “We’re going to have to be more proactive in fundraising.”
The food cupboard runs its Adopt a Family program over the holidays, providing a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and gifts for children and adults.
Waters said she’s hoping individuals, families, groups and workplaces will come together to sponsor needy families for the holidays.
“Last year we helped out 300 families in Kanata,” she said, adding the numbers will likely be similar this year.
“The demand there is going up every year,” said Dumais. “Ideally, we’d like everyone to be adopted.”
About half the families last year were adopted, with the food cupboard sponsoring the other 150 families.
It costs around $300 to sponsor a family of four, said Waters. Some people split up the costs – an example: one group sponsors the meal while another donates the gifts.
“I’m more than willing to work with anybody’s budget,” said Waters. “One way or another we can do it.”
The holiday season officially kicks off at the Kanata Food Cupboard on Dec. 8, with hampers being delivered on Dec. 14 and 15.
To adopt a family for the holidays, email Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit kanatafoodcupboard.ca, connect on Twitter with @KanataFoodCpbrd or like them on Facebook by searching Kanata Food Cupboard.