Emergency food hamper program saw crushing demand; 150 voicemails on opening day

In this provided photo, stations are set up to assemble emergency food hampers in Cornwall, Ont. The Regional Emergency Response Council saw a crushing demand right out of the gate for the fourth round of emergency food hampers. (Cornwall Sunrise Rotary/SDC via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – Over 600 families and 1,000 singles or couples were helped through the latest round of emergency food hampers.

Those figures come from the Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area Friday as it wrapped up its fourth round of emergency food rations during the pandemic.

There were 1,656 hampers distributed after being put together last week by just over 160 volunteers. They went to 605 families and 1,051 singles or couples.

Spokesperson Carilyne Hebert says the demand for food was overwhelming right out of the gate when the Regional Emergency Response Council opened its request line.

“On the day the phone line was opened 150 voicemails were already left requesting food,” Hebert shared in a report on the food hamper program. The referrals closed before the Feb. 26 deadline – less than two weeks after it opened (Feb. 15).

The crushing demand also put the project over its $125,000 budget by $488.52. “Thanks to additional financial support from CAS and Social and Housing Services we were able to accommodate our wait list,” Hebert wrote. The main budget came from the Social Services Relief Fund.

In addition to 176 phone requests, there were also referrals from area agencies. The largest requests came from clients with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Center 105 and the Seaway Valley Community Health Center.

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