BRACEBRIDGE, ON – An interactive map detailing food bank usage in Ontario paints a troubling tale in cottage country.

The map, which is found on the website FeedOntario.ca breaks out food bank statistics by provincial electoral riding boundaries. It shows that while there may be affluent seasonal residents and retirees in the Parry Sound Muskoka area, there are still people needing the help of a local food bank.

There were over 12,000 visits to food banks in 2018, with 1882 adults and 952 children accessing those services.

That breaks out to approximately three in every 100 people living in the area seeking out assistance.

The numbers are higher in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, where over 20,000 visits were made to food bank facilities. The riding also has a higher population base of 113,960.

The information comes at a time of year when people tend to forget supporting local food banks as vacation takes over a sense of civic duty.

Food Bank Visit Comparisons for Parry Sound-Muskoka and Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

Total Visits -PS-MUS
2,384 individual visits
1882 Adults
952 Children
12,359 total visits
Total Visits – HAL-KAW-BRO
3,978 individual visits
2623 Adults
1355 Children
20,359 total visits

One food bank organization, the Manna Foodbank is reminding Bracebridge residents that the need does not go away with the time of year. It contends that with seasonal employment the number of clients requesting help does drop down, but it does not go away all together.

“Unfortunately, food insecurity does remain a reality for some in Muskoka, even in the summer,” a statement from the food bank President Sam Robinson reads. “And it is for this reason that we are asking you to consider making a donation to the Manna Food Bank to assist those in need in our community this summer.”

Manna estimates about 600 families from Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Muskoka Lakes and beyond accessed the food bank last year. This represents about 5,000 individuals, a third of whom are children.

“The reasons our clients require a helping hand are many,” states Robinson. “It could be employment-related (job loss, precarious or under-employment), high housing costs, accident, illness or a combination of issues.”

Manna operates 100 per cent without subsidy and is asking for people to donate either online by clicking here or sending a cheque to the Manna Food Bank – P.O. Box 462, Bracebridge ON P1L 1T8. Donations are eligible for a tax receipt which is electronically generated.

In Haliburton County you can contact the Minden Community Food Bank. To visit its website click here.