Food bank meets increased need in the Pontiac

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Darlene Pashak

MRC PONTIAC – Business is not quite as usual at the region’s food bank and free thrift shop due to Covid-19. Despite the changes however, Bouffe Pontiac (BP) continues to serve between 500 to 600 people per month, with numbers already on the rise.
Director Kim Laroche said 18 new families used the service in March, representing 25-30 additional people. She’s anticipating the numbers will rise because of the pandemic, but it’s hard to predict by how much.
Premier Francois Legault has promised measures to help food banks meet higher demands and Laroche expects to hear more details this week.
Changes to BP
The first thing clients will notice is a change in
procedure. Rather than entering the building and personally selecting items, clients must phone for an appointment to pick up a prepared box. Clients are scheduled 10 minutes apart to avoid interactions.
To ensure the food and building remains sanitary, clients do not enter the
building, but come to the entrance where staff will speak with them through the window and direct them to the correct door to pick up their box.
Delivery is available for some clients, particularly seniors.
BP is also not accepting any donations for the thrift store. Laroche explained
the thrift store is entirely operated by volunteers, as regular funding is allocated only to the food bank. The regular volunteers are all over the age of 70 and
are remaining at home. Laroche asks that people store donations in their home until the pandemic is over.
What does BP need now?
At present, food supplies are sufficient, but their budget will take a hit since they can’t buy in bulk when goods are on sale. Many purchases – all at local stores – are at full price so their usual budget-stretching is limited.
Monetary donations are always welcome. Their preferred method at this time is e-transfer to bouffepontiac@yahoo.fr with covid19 as the password or cheques mailed to their office. As a last resort, cash donations will be accepted by appointment only.
Bouffe has a bank of volunteers to distribute food across the Pontiac, but more are always needed. Contact BP at 819-648-2550 if you’d like to help out.