An increase in need and rising food costs have many food banks in need, and the Inner City Home of Sudbury is no different. That’s why they are trying something new this year to raise funds for their programming and emergency food bank — A Taste of Sudbury.
To be held at the Caruso Club beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 20, the event will feature more than 30 vendors and each restaurant booth will have wares, samples and treats. It’s the first time they’ve held an event like this, but Inner City Home board chair, Joe Drago, told Sudbury.com on Jan. 12 that he is excited for the possibilities.
“People can wander around and talk to each other, we’ll have these little tables where they can sit and enjoy their little treats. There'll be a cash bar and there'll be quiet music in the background.”
It’s a fundraiser that is desperately needed at the organization.
Inner City Homes’ administrator, Ro Mullen, told Sudbury.com in September that the Inner City Home’s food bank has seen a 42-per-cent increase in usage. “And that's not since the beginning of COVID, that’s since 2021,” she said.
Drago said the need is not only from long-time community members, but newcomers as well. “Last week, we had three families from the Ukraine come in, two of them had four children,” said Drago. “They've only been here three or four days, and while they have a place to stay, there’s nothing left for food. They're just wonderful people and so concerned that they don't want to take a charity, but they have no choice.”
He said a factor in this is the rising cost of food as well.
“The packaging is getting smaller, and the prices are escalating,” he said.
A dollar donated to the food bank used to translate to $6 of food, but that has changed now to $3. While they are always happy for food donation, Drago said, “With the cash if you give a $10 donation, we can buy $30 worth of food.”
The Inner City Home also offers programming based on life skills, and these programs, as well as the food bank, are all run by volunteers.
“We're a non-profit, but we don't get any funding, so we have to raise all the money we can,” said Drago, mentioning the recent need to put a new roof and porch on the home, at a cost of $25,000 and $23,000 respectively, and all paid for with fundraising. “Our board has to raise that money in order to look after those expenses. So it's a big job.”
He credits the volunteers for all their work. “They're committed and dedicated and without them, we couldn't exist.”
It’s hoped that this event will help make the food affordability crisis easier on everyone, and to ensure that everyone in Sudbury has something to eat.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with Sudbury.com. She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized, including the Black, Indigenous, newcomer and Francophone communities, as well as 2SLGBTQ+ and issues of the downtown core.