There has been a dramatic increase in families coming to the food bank at 500 Stephen Street Community Centre, according to Darcy Wolfe, a board member for Morden's Many Hands.

"Last year when we took over the food bank, we had roughly 40 families accessing the food bank every week, and last week, I believe the numbers were up to 95 families. That's an increase of over 100%. I think families are really struggling to make ends meet. They're having to decide between having activities for their kids, having them in sports, or having to feed them. They're accessing the food bank with much more regularity," explained Wolfe.

Back-to-school shopping and preparations have some families feeling financial pressures, with rising costs for many things like gas and food. 

"Right now, Many Hands does not have a specific program in order to supply school supplies, but I know we've done it in the past and I think that if people are looking for a place to donate school supplies, we would be a place to drop it off at 500 Stephen St. to Many Hands, and we would be happy to hand them out to families that we can identify as needing those supplies." 

Wolfe said regular supplies for K-8 students are paid for in school fees but backpacks, water bottles and runners are extra and can be donated to the centre to leave the family more money for things like food and other essential needs. 

"I know a lot of people in our community I think, take food for granted, but everybody realizes that food costs have gone up and continue to go up. Many Hands is very excited and looking for ways to help in the schools to help as many kids as we can, because we know, as everybody will know, hungry kids aren't going to learn as effectively as students who have a stomach full. We're very excited and we hope the community keeps supporting us and supporting our kids." 

Many HandsDrop in times to play games and make new friends are Tuesdays 1-4pm and Thursdays 5-9pm

Wolfe said donations allow the volunteers at Many Hands to support people in need in other ways than with food. 

"The smiles that we see come into our building every week keep us going. It's amazing to see the smiles, and sometimes even tears, when people are coming in and picking up what could be the only food they're going to have in their house. The stories that we hear, the opportunities that we get to be able to sit down and create relationships and build community together with some of the people that are more in the margins of our community is amazing and it's an opportunity Many Hands doesn't take for granted. We hope the community will continue to support us, and come on down and see what's happening."  

Many Hands has several programs in addition to the food bank, including drop-in times for connection and games Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, a monthly community meal, a food voucher program through the farmer's market and, coming soon, a community kitchen program. People are welcome to stop by 500 Stephen Street to learn how to find support, be a support or get involved. Click here for more information.