Economy means more go hungry

Local church needs food donations for recession rut

DAVE OTTY DOESN’T need the newspaper to track the course of the recession.

“We started seeing an increase in November,” says the director of the Lansing Emergency Food Program, “and each month since then we’ve seen more people coming through the door.”

This is a difficult time for the program, which began at Lansing United Church 25 years ago. “With this recession, we’re serving 600 families a month,” Otty says.

Many of those depending on the food bank have recently lost their jobs or had their part-time hours cut back. Twenty per cent of the clients are children under the age of 12, who, without the food bank, would go hungry.

That the program has survived is a tribute to the dedication of the Lansing parishioners who contribute time, food and money. There are 10 other Willowdale churches contributing food, and neighbours donate generously.

Earlier this month, employees of Cadbury, whose head office is nearby, spearheaded a large neighbourhood drive and collected more than 4,000 pounds of food for Lansing. But the food bank needs more regular donations to meet its current need. Food donations currently make up only 35 per cent of the demand, and $4,000 needs to be raised each month to supplement that.

Food can be dropped off any weekday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lansing Church office at 49 Bogert Ave. Healthy canned food and packaged foods are easy to store. Later in the summer, some local residents will be bringing in vegetables from local gardens.

“With the population we have in North York,” says Otty, “if everybody donated just one can of food, it would go a long way.” To find out more, visit lansingchurch.com.