Huron County farmers helping local food banks
WINGHAM, ONT. -- Every Tuesday sees a shipment of donated eggs from Ontario egg farmers to the Huron County Food Distribution Centre, south of Exeter. It’s a weekly donation, that’s grown larger since last March.
“We’ve been able to increase the amount that we were distributing to food banks,” says the distribution centre's Executive Director Mary-Ellen Zielman. “It’s wonderful. All the farmers, all the different agricultural organizations have been wonderful in supporting us.”
Last year, Huron County egg producers donated $20,000 worth of eggs to the Huron County Food Distribution Centre, which supplies Huron County’s 10 food banks and four mobile food banks with food.
“We’ve upped our donations in recent years, especially with what’s been going on in the world,” says Carol Leeming, a Huron County egg producer.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns mean there’ve been more eggs to donate. Shuttered restaurants, and community events have led to abundance of eggs.
“In the past, we’ve been able to sponsor local events that do breakfasts, and provide eggs as part of those fundraisers. That’s not been happening, so we know there’s a need here at the food bank, so that’s where we’ve been focusing our dollars,” says Leeming.
Zielman says donations from most of Huron County’s farm groups - like egg and chicken producers, along with beef, dairy and pork producers - have helped the food distribution centre to not only meet the increased demand for food, but increase the amount of protein they can distribute to those in need across the county.
“We’ve seen an increase in the numbers of seniors and children, which is very unfortunate. Numbers are up two to three per cent, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but over the course of year, it’s quite a number of new people needing help,” says Zielman.