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Madawaska Valley Food Bank still serving record number of clients, looking for larger location

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The need for the Madawaska Valley Food Bank has not slowed down since the start of the pandemic, according to its top members.

Paul Thompson, President of the Food Bank, and Patricia Whitfield, a Director with the Food Bank, say the numbers remain “stubbornly” high over the last two years. During the last food bank session, the bank served 103 families, as opposed to 40 typically seen pre-pandemic.

Whitfield and Thompson say a number of factors play a role in this. Many clients have fixed incomes, and with the prices rising in stores, those incomes have not kept up with the price of living. Some families are supporting adult children moving home from the cities where they lost their jobs. Whitfield says that even car maintenance has caused some families to need the foodbank.

As a result, volunteers at the food bank have had to do more, and because of the boost in their operations, they need a bigger location. While they are thankful for Eve’s Spa for setting them up at their current location, they are appealing to the community to find a bigger space. With a bigger space, they can return to the shopping model rather than the drive-through model, which Whitfield says is difficult on the volunteers during the winter, and not as efficient on their resources.

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Thompson says that they are open to a lot of options, such as a portable building, a mobile one, or renting one out. But they would need something with sewer and water connection, as well as a place that would allow them to deal with the influx of clients. While the bank serves a large area, a location in Barry’s Bay would be ideal.

Thompson and Whitfield took the opportunity to thank the community as a whole for their continued support, saying their work is only possible through their time and donations.

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