[:en]Hamilton & Oshawa, ON – While communities across Canada self-isolate, families everywhere are feeling the crunch. Many businesses have been forced to close due to isolation measures, and now millions of Canadian residents are applying for the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit and Employment Insurance. Right now, many families are focusing on the essentials by stocking up on groceries and supplies while waiting out the threat and spread of COVID-19.
Canada’s supply chain networks have enabled essential goods to continue to flow, however, donations to food banks have slowed, while some staples are in short supply. For those who rely on food banks, this can have disastrous effects, and unfortunately the number of people who rely on food banks and meal programs is likely to increase in the coming weeks and months.
“We supply 12 food banks and hot meal programs who serve 13,000 people per month, including 5000 children in a usual month,” said Celeste Taylor, Resource Development Manager at Hamilton Food Share. “Last year we distributed 3.35 million pounds of food and we anticipate a sharp increase to that amount this year in order to meet the needs of people who have become unemployed. Every donation, including the generous support from the HOPA, will be used for food procurement.”
HOPA Ports is proud to share that it will be donating $2,500 each to Hamilton Food Share and Feed the Need in Durham. These organizations play a crucial role as ‘food share hubs’, and each one supports an entire network of social service agencies and free meal programs across Oshawa and Hamilton. Like a port, Hamilton Food Share and Feed the Need in Durham are central hubs in their networks, and keep thousands from going hungry. By donating to these distribution centres, we are helping to bolster the food share supply chain, which will in turn feed even more children and families.
Robyn McKibbon, Community Engagement Coordinator at Feed the Need in Durham, described the organization’s unique role “We are very connected to South Oshawa, though we actually distribute to 62 emergency food providers across Durham Region,” she explained. “With the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent emergency restrictions and protocols, that network has reduced to 32 in the interim. Clients are being redirected to the programs that are still up and running but it certainly puts additional strain on the current network, especially as we expect the need to continue to increase as the ripple effect hits our community. We are truly grateful for the support from HOPA as we strive to meet the need in the crucial days and weeks ahead.”
“We are proud to support these organizations which provide bulk purchasing, warehousing and logistics for food banks in both of our port communities,” said Ian Hamilton, President & CEO of HOPA Ports. “We know how important it is to maintain resilient networks even in times of crisis, in order to get essential goods to those who need them.”
About HOPA Ports
As a growing integrated port network, the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority offers innovative port and marine assets on the Great Lakes. We’re developing multimodal spaces to support Ontario’s industries and facilitate trade. By investing in high-quality infrastructure and prioritizing sustainability, we’re building prosperous working waterfronts in Ontario communities.