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The number of people using the Emerson-Franklin Food Bank has continued to rise over the last year to 45 users. One user could be equal to one individual or it could be a family with small children.

Over 45 people depend on the food bank to help them make ends meet with food and personal hygiene products. Donations to the program mainly come from Winnipeg Harvest, community grocery stores in Emerson and Dominion City, and area residents.

Treasurer Cindy Jamieson says she believes that the influx of asylum seekers and area flooding may be what's negatively affecting donations to the program.

"The people that support us from Winnipeg Harvest are having to give out more food and items to different places because of the immigration coming in and flood victims that are in need. Then they cannot give as much to rural food banks because they have to satisfy the ones in the city first."

Jamieson went on to say that rural communities like Emerson-Franklin are often the last to receive donations.

"Personal items were not included until recently. Last year we started asking for hygiene products, it has made a very big difference. We've had two people that were using the food bank get jobs now because they were supplied with shampoo and toiletries that made them feel more secure and confident to apply for jobs. When you are struggling and you have little ones, most often your personal appearance is not a top priority," explained Jamieson.

Items currently needed are canned meats, vegetables, and peanut butter. Hygiene products like deodorant, laundry soap, shavers, toothpaste and toothbrush, shampoo and women-specific products. All items can be dropped off in bins located in the community grocery stores.

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