Here are 3 kinds of items the Ottawa Food Bank needs this holiday season

With the cost of groceries continuing to skyrocket and the holiday season around the corner, food banks across the country are facing never-before-seen demand.

The Ottawa Food Bank has seen an average of about 1.5 million visits per month this year. That’s nearly a 20 per cent increase from last year and up 35 per cent from 2019.

“We’re seeing unprecedented, historic numbers right now. These are numbers we haven’t seen in 40 years of food banking in Canada, and in Ottawa,” Ottawa Food Bank CEO Rachael Wilson said earlier this month. “It’s a very challenging time for many people in this city.”

Along with increase demand, food donations are down about 15 per cent because food is so expensive. Cash donations are down as well.

“These next couple of months are critical for our organization,” Wilson said.

That makes this year’s CTV Morning Live Holiday Helpers Food Drive more important than ever. The Ottawa Food Bank can turn one dollar and stretch it into $5 worth of food for a family in need.

The food bank is looking for particular items this holiday season. Here are the three types of items the food bank needs.

1. Baby items

“Being a new parent is very expensive,” Wilson said. “These are one of the items that are very expensive for the Ottawa Food Bank to buy as well.”

In particular: diapers, cereal and baby food are hugely helpful.

“We spend over $250,000 a year on baby items, so everything we get donated is amazing,” Wilson said.

2. Non-perishable items

“When you think about non-perishable, we realy encourage you to think of those healthy nutritious items,” Wilson said.

That include vegetables, fruit that’s in water, peanut butter, cereals, rice and canned chili. All those ingredients are hearty things that families can turn into a meal.

3. Pasta and canned meats

These are among the most critical items the food bank received. It’s recommended that you buy whole wheat pasta. Pasta sauce is also hugely helpful.

“These are all things that can be turned into a meal for a whole family,” Wilson said.

The CTV Morning Live Holiday Helpers Food Drive special broadcast is set for this Thursday, Dec. 1. People who would like to participate can drop off non-perishable food item donations during the special broadcast at 87 George St.

If you can’t make it down in person, you can still contribute by making an online monetary donation here.

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