By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Every day, St. Vincent’s Kitchen serves about 130 people in need of a warm meal.
However, according to Roger Ramkissoon, the board president of Durham Outlook for the Needy, that isn’t enough.
This is why Durham Outlook, which runs St. Vincent’s, has launched a campaign to raise money for a new, more open and – perhaps most importantly – larger facility.
“We’ve seen a need for increasing our capacity because of the increasing need of people going hungry in the Region of Durham, particularly in parts of Oshawa,”
Ramkissoon told The Oshawa Express shortly after the new fundraising initiative was launched. “Right now, we serve about 130 meals a day and we’re always all sold out, per se. We think we can increase our capacity to well over 200 meals per day, and we’ve seen the need and demand for it.”
Ramkissoon cited a recent report from the region’s health department that discusses the rising cost of food in Durham as to why more people need access to the services that Durham Outlook and other organizations like it provide.
According to the report, it costs approximately $830 per month to feed a family of four a nutritiously adequate diet, up from an average of $702 only five years ago.
The same report also says that the average family that relies on social assistance will spend 93 per cent of their income on food and shelter alone, leaving little money for anything else.
Durham Outlook is seeking to raise $3 million for the new facility, which will be located at 227 Simcoe St. S, just north of the intersection with Gibb Street and next door to the Dairy Queen.
The new location, just south of the main downtown core, will be an easily accessible location for many, Ramkissoon said.
“We felt (this property) was a good opportunity because it was central to the transit route. There’s parking and the size was fine,” he said.
Another benefit of the new site is that it will be fully accessible, something that the current King Street East location is lacking.