Canada: CBC's Sounds of the Seasons & Unifor's grant brings cheer to Windsor-Essex Countyâ€™s food banks
A new Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WEC) said that many families of four cannot afford cost of healthy food which is $203.03 per week.
The 2016 Nutritious Food Basket Survey results found the cost of eating healthy food increased 1.52 percent this year which was another constraining factor that limits access to healthy food by many families.
WEC health unit is afraid that this trend of inaccessibility to good quality food could result in increased food insecurity.
In an attempt to compromise with the quality of food to make both ends meet people start to buy more of the pre-packaged and processed foods, not realizing that healthier food cost just a little bit more, said Mariel Munoz, a public health nutritionist with the health unit.
The report said the cost of healthy food for a family of four having the income of one minimum wage earner is close to half of their weekly earnings.
The spike in the food-bank use by 35 percent in the past year at the Unemployed Help Centre (UHC) increased the need for donations, said CEO June Muir.
21,000 households in Windsor have used a food bank in 2016, including 2,000 for the first time, reported CBC Windsor News.
During a special broadcast of Windsor Morning Muir spoke about scarcity of food in the region, which was part of CBC Windsor's Sounds of the Season event Friday.
Musicians performed throughout a special broadcast of Windsor Morning with host Tony Doucette Friday morning. There were performances by Crissi Cochrane, Soul Brother Mike, Leighton Bain, Karen Morand and Buck Twenty.
Mayor Drew Dilkens was also present and he spoke about the need to donate during the holiday season.
The UHC’s food bank received a large donation of poultry as part of CBC's Sounds of the Seasons from Chicken Farmers of Ontario estimated to be about 450 kilograms of chicken drumsticks.
"We're certainly grateful. Typically it's a product that is very difficult to get, so our clients will certainly be very, very thankful this year," said Mike Turnbull, the food rescue program manager at the food bank.
The UHC was just one of 11 food banks chosen to get the donation and it planned to repackage the meat into smaller quantities and distribute to those in need.
"The need seems to be much greater this time of year, so it really is difficult, Turnbull said, recognizing the importance of campaigns like CBC's Sounds of the Seasons. "I hope never stops because it really helps us and helps our community."
Sounds of the Season food drive raises money and collects food for the UHC.
UHC is responsible for stocking food bank shelves throughout the region.
"It is a challenge, but when we put the word out when we need food, people in Windsor and Essex County step up and we get the food," Muir said.
Muir explained that support for food can come from anywhere.
Ryli Michalczuk, a 13-year female joined Windsor Morning and donated money to the Help Centre to throw a pizza party for its clients.
Michalczuk was able to raise the cash by knitting and selling hats and other clothing items.
So far, she's knitted more than 200 hats. This year alone, she's made about 70 hats.
All money she earned will be used for another pizza party.
"It makes me feel really good because you see the smiles on people's faces," she said.
People on social assistance are further strained, "After paying for rent, a single adult male receiving Ontario Works assistance would not have the financial means necessary to purchase enough healthy food to properly nourish himself," the report said.
The report added that number of people living in low-income households in the region is "considerably greater for all age groups compared to the provincial average."
Media also reported that UHC received a $10,000 donation from members of Unifor Local 444 to fund the shuttle services starting at 2017 which will help clients get to the 15 food banks throughout Windsor and Essex County.
(Reported by Asha Bajaj)