The Hawkesbury Central Food Bank is in need of more volunteers to help deal with steady traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds provided by various levels of government have mostly made up for the lack of fundraising events in 2020. There also has not been the expected level of increase in the number of people using the food bank due to the pandemic. Where the food bank has been struggling is in finding enough people to hand out the food, as several long-time volunteers left the organization due to fear of catching COVID.

“We lost some volunteers, because they were concerned about COVID-19,” said Francois Petit, President of the Hawkesbury Food Bank. “But we have a wonderful, dedicated group of volunteers so we are OK for now – we’re managing.”

The food bank – located at 548 Main St. E in Hawkesbury – serves between 300-400 individuals per month and in 2020 is taking requests for assistance by appointment only. The building is open three weeks per month, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and visits can be arranged by calling 613-636-0666. The food bank also maintains a Facebook page.

While government assistance money has made up for the lack of fundraising events this year, the local food bank has also received help from the public and local groups. Most recently, the Drive Away Hunger Event was held at Le Sommet High School on September 26. The fundraiser brought in 178 kilograms of non-perishable food items and $1,725 in financial donations for the food bank.

The food bank can always use donations from the public, which can be made by contacting the phone number listed above. However the biggest area of need is manpower – both to help out at the food bank itself and to provide a long-term vision for the future.

“We don’t know what’s ahead – especially now with the second wave – we don’t know what’s going to happen so we have to be ready,” the Hawkesbury Food Bank’s president observed.

“What we could really use are some new people who would be interested in serving in different capacities,” Petit concluded. “Even on the board of directors, people who have a vision, people who are able to do fundraising events.”

“We’re trying to expand our horizons to get ready for the next decade.”