Bridgewater & Area Lions Club Food Pantry Services Increasing Gap in Food Security



A Feed Nova Scotia report from May shares staggering numbers on food insecurity in Nova Scotia. In 2022, nearly 1 in 4 Nova Scotians were living in food-insecure households, a 5 per cent increase over the previous year, and the highest rate in Canada.

The report notes food insecurity doesn’t stem from lack of food, but lack of income. It also shares that low income is underpinned by factors including systemic racism and oppression, precarious work and low wages, lack of affordable housing and inadequate Income Assistance levels.

The solution for food insecurity must include policies that address these factors and more. 

A 2021 Canadian study published in Preventive Medicine concluded, “Income support policies, favourable labour market conditions, and affordable living costs were all related to reduced food insecurity among Canadian households with children. Policies that increase minimum wage, reduce taxes, and create jobs may help alleviate food insecurity.”

They found a $1/hour increase in the minimum wage resulted in a 5% decrease in the odds of food insecurity.

Until we have strong advocacy for policy change, local groups are the ones supporting stopgap measures to alleviate the stress of the increased cost of food.

In Bridgewater, the Bridgewater & Area Lions Club Food Pantry is providing an accessible and dignified way to access free food with a pantry and freezer behind Souls Harbour Rescue. The site is stocked with perishable and freezable foods donated by volunteers and available to anyone in the community at any time.

This initiative only exists because of the creativity and dedication of volunteers. 

Tammy Paulin saw the increase in need for food support in her community and so the idea was born. Paulin’s brother-in-law, Danny Whynot, helped build the first pantry to get it off the ground last fall. Since then, the pantry has been upgraded, a chicken heater was added in the winter months and a freezer was installed to allow for frozen meals.

In many cases, the pantry provides items to tie seniors and families over until their next paycheck.

Darrin Hutchinson, Paulin’s partner and a Bridgewater and Area Lion, says, “We work with seniors. We both do home care. I knew the community needed help, I didn’t realise to what extent.” He hopes people continue to contribute items when they can and access the support when they need it.

You can follow the Pantry on Facebook to find out when it has been stocked. The group asks folks to be respectful of the space and to take only what they need.


Comments

2 responses to “Bridgewater & Area Lions Club Food Pantry Services Increasing Gap in Food Security”

  1. Peter

    As Lions we serve our communities. And are Proud of how we do it. You could be as well. Become a Lion and experience the Pride.

  2. Anne Olivier

    Where is food pantry located … would likecto contribute

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