The flow of food and monetary donations to the Amherst food bank has begun to slow down now that the busy Christmas season is over. However the demand for assistance hasn’t diminished and as a result the Food Bank is facing a shortage of specific items. The food bank is in need of the following items-men’s razors, shaving cream, women’s deodorant, toothpaste, body wash, hand soap, and shampoo. Other items needed include black pepper, hot chocolate, juice, meats, cheez whiz and peanut butter.
The Amherst Food Assistance Network Association encourages people to remember the Food Bank by dropping off food and household items or making a financial contribution which will help in the purchase of needed staples such as meat, milk, eggs and other items.
Monetary donations can be mailed to the Amherst Food Assistance Network at P.O. Box 45, Amherst, NS B4H 3Y6. Food, personal hygiene and baby supplies may be dropped off at the Food Bank location on King Street. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:30 to 4:00pm for clients.
Drop off boxes for the food bank are located at Sobeys, Bank of Nova Scotia main branch, RBC, Walmart and Credit Union. Donations are also accepted at the food bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but it is not open to clients on these days.
Clients and other visitors to the food bank will notice some significant improvements to the facility following renovations which include new interview rooms and a reconfigured waiting area. The renovations are designed to improve efficiency and provide more privacy for our clients.
The Amherst food bank couldn’t exist without the generous support of countless individuals, groups and organizations and, of course, the business community. But as a supporter have you ever wondered what your donations are worth monetarily. Now there is a way to accurately estimate the value of food donated and shared with people accessing food assistance. Food Banks Canada in partnership with the Nielsen Company has established a national value for donated food. Using data collected by Nielsen from leading retailers in Canada, Food Banks Canada created a ‘weighted average’ which works out to $2.50 per pound and $5.50 per kg.
How can you as a supporter use this information? You can report on the value of the total amount of food your organization collected during a particular food drive simply by weighing it and then applying the weighted average. For example, if you collected 1,000 pounds of food it is valued at $2500. If your donation is in the form of cash a $1,000 gift could purchase 400 pounds of food.
In closing let us not forget members of our community who for various reasons may need a helping hand at this, or any time of the year.
Ron Robinson is a member of the Amherst Food Assistance Network board of directors.