“It’s getting tight. We are definitely feeling the crunch.”
That’s from Jill Plett, Treasurer of Grunthal Caring Hands Food Bank, who says that with the rising cost of groceries, they need an increase in donations to keep up.
Although they have generous donors that give financially on a regular basis, donations have not been rising at nearly the same level that grocery prices have.
Plett says the shelves at Grunthal Food Bank are not looking good.
“They are so empty. We are actually having to buy a lot of food.”
She says they never needed to buy groceries for the food bank in the past, but times have changed and the food bank could really use some extra funds.
They have been dipping into the small reserve they have in order to pay for groceries, but it’s starting to dwindle away.
Plett says food donations are great, and they will happily accept them, but they really need monetary donations as well since there are some things they don’t get donated that they need to purchase.
She notes they do their best with the money they receive.
“As we all know, the price of groceries has changed, and that does not exempt the food bank at all. We are constantly looking for sales. If the big box stores have soup on sale, we go and buy the maximum that we can at that price,” she says. “And we have several people that are doing that, so obviously then it's a little bit more time consuming, but we are trying to get the most that we can with the funds that we have received.”
Plett says inflation has really taken a toll on the food bank.
“Our Christmas hampers two years ago, we budgeted about $175 per hamper, two years later we're budgeting $275-$300 per hamper. And that's just the food, nevermind toys.”
She says the change in food prices has been extreme, and they are trying to compensate for it by upping their fundraising efforts.
They send out letters to businesses asking for donations, and they receive some very generous donations, but they need more.
“Looking back over the history of the last couple of years, where we're at right now, our donations are on-par with what they were three or four years ago, but again, the price of the hamper has gone up, but unfortunately, our donations have not increased at the same increment.”
To put things in perspective, between Grunthal, Kleefeld, Sarto, and Pansy, Grunthal Food Bank gives out about 70 hampers every two weeks.
They have also been helping Vita with their food hampers, providing 30 hampers for them every two weeks.
Now that Vita is opening up their own food bank, they will have 30 less clients to provide food for come January.
“So if we were to include Vita, which we've been doing for 2023, then we're up to 100 clients that we're supplying food to every two weeks, and that's expensive.”
Plett notes Green Valley School did a food drive in the fall which was very successful.
And Kleefeld School is doing a food drive in the next week where they're taking toys as well as non-perishable food items.
“But that's just filling the shelves, the shelves are bare.”
The deadline for Christmas hamper registration is December 1st.
Anybody who knows of a family that could use a Christmas hamper can contact the food bank in Grunthal at 204-371-1394 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
They are doing the distributions on December 11 and 12.
Plett says people are so willing to volunteer their time when it comes to Christmas.
“Admittedly, our food bank could use volunteers throughout the year on our distribution days, our volunteer list is getting a little bit small.”
Anybody interested in volunteering on a biweekly or monthly basis with helping with hamper distribution at the Grunthal food bank can call or email the food bank as well.
As for toy donations, they are looking for new and unwrapped gifts for ages newborn to 17 years old.
With files from Carly Koop
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