Hungry kids need school meals to help their struggling Mississauga families, food bank says

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Published August 29, 2023 at 2:23 pm

Food Banks Mississauga has record-setting month in October 2023
More people than ever before used Food Banks Mississauga in October. (Photo: Food Banks Mississauga)

For thousands of kids who’ll return to classes next week in Mississauga, the meals and snacks they’ll be provided daily through their schools’ food programs will help keep them well fed and ease the tremendous pressure on their struggling families, officials with the city’s largest food bank say.

Still, that alone won’t be enough to solve what’s being described by The Mississauga Food Bank as a hunger crisis for thousands of Mississauga families struggling to put food on the table.

And their numbers are growing at a record pace, according to the charitable organization, which runs a network of more than 50 agencies across the city in efforts to help keep people in need fed.

“It has been one of the toughest summers in recent memory for a lot of families in Mississauga,” The Mississauga Food Bank CEO Meghan Nicholls wrote in an email to food bank supporters in which she urges people to donate food, money or their time as fall and holiday season food drives are just around the corner.

“Thousands of kids have been desperately missing the school meal and snack programs that are a lifeline to their families,” Nicholls continued in the email, referring to the downside to summer holidays for struggling families and their children.

Food bank officials say the need is “so high right now” and that it’s important to help kids and their families immediately so that they’re “set up for success” as they return to school in early September.

Nicholls said in the email it’s crucial that kids “start the next school year off right, ready to learn and thrive. Healthy meals will fuel their energy, focus and confidence.”

Earlier this month, food bank officials noted that lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the cost of living have combined to put even more pressure on Mississauga’s largest food bank to feed the hungry in Canada’s seventh-largest city.

“Change is a constant in life, and through the lasting effects of the pandemic and the increase in cost of living, we’ve had to adapt to ensure we’re able to help every neighbour who needs us,” Nicholls said in an online video to food bank supporters in early August.

In the short video update, Nicholls said a new and much larger warehouse the food bank moved into this past spring has helped the organization, and by extension food bank users, in a significant way.

But, the CEO added, “…we continue to see a record-breaking number of hungry neighbours turning to us for help.”

For more information or to volunteer, visit The Mississauga Food Bank website.

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