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Local food bank continues to help those in need amidst increasing inflation prices

This story is made possible through the support of Houser's Paint and Wallpaper as part of OrilliaMatters' Community Leaders Program

As food and cost of living continue to rise, an Orillia not-for-profit organization is helping to ensure their community members are fed.

Chris Peacock, executive director of The Sharing Place Food Centre, said over the past year, there's been a steady increase in people accessing their food bank program. Notably, 70 households accessed food from the centre on July 11 and 60 the following day.

As inflation continues to rise, he expects that number to increase.

"We are definitely starting to see individuals that are really struggling to essentially afford life's necessities," Peacock said, adding that it can be a very delicate balance for those living in poverty to meet their end-of-month expenses and afford food.

"When you get inflation and price increases across the board, it's catastrophic for individuals that live with a limited income," he said.

According to the Sharing Place's 2020 impact report, 18 per cent of Orillia households are low-income

"There are many individuals in our community that are going to be faced with very difficult decisions," he said. "We only hope that we can alleviate some of that pressure to ensure they can access a supply of healthy, nutritious food."

With the majority of the food The Sharing Place provides purchased from grocery stores, the climbing prices also affect their program. Peacock added that the fresh produce donations they receive from local grocery stores and farmers are wonderful and financial donations from the public are the best way to support The Sharing Place.

"Give us one dollar, and we can convert it into five dollars worth of food, and a lot of that has to do with our food recovery program where we're accessing food that's 100 per cent donated from local stores and farmers," he noted.

This allows The Sharing Place to invest in transporting the food and supporting its staff.

However, he noted that it's challenging to meet the demand and ensure their volunteer base and staff can continue to support those in need.

To find out more information or to donate to The Sharing Place, visit their website.