On Friday, September 21st people across the city were glued to their radios, televisions, and Twitter feeds to get updates about the “thunderstorm warning” as it was gradually upgraded to “tornado watch” and finally “tornado warning”.
This has happened in Ottawa before, but this time – the tornado actually touched down. Only later did we discover that there was a total of six tornadoes that hit the National Capital Region.
The Ottawa Food Bank has released a report that outlines the course of action we took following the tornadoes in an effort to help our community. The report also outlines how the community’s support was used to assist people in affected areas and those who were displaced across the city.
By the Numbers:
- The Ottawa Food Bank provided food for an estimated 9,489 people who visited a food bank in the affected areas (an increase of 33% over the same period last year)
- 10,190 hampers were provided to residences in 22 community housing buildings/neighbourhoods
- In total, 19,679 hampers were delivered to the community, compared to 8,302 hampers over the same period last year (an increase of 137%)
- An additional $175,000 worth of food was delivered to the affected communities, above and beyond the regular distribution of food and supplies to the Ottawa Food Bank’s other community food programs (approximately 100 programs) that were not affected by the storm
Thank you to our supporters
The Ottawa Food Bank would not have been able to act so quickly and for such an extended period if it weren’t for the support received from the community.
In the days following the storm, the Ottawa Food Bank received heart-felt support from generous supporters across the city ranging from individuals to classrooms, sports teams to church groups, and large corporations to small businesses.
Thank you to Empire Company Limited and Farm Boy for leading the charge and being the very first organization to reach out to see what the Ottawa Food Bank needed. Thank you to the amazing local businesses like CLV Group and Interrent Holdings, Verdun Windows & Doors, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and CSL Behring Canada Inc. for offering your incredible support to the community as well.
Also, thank you to the 2,578 individual donors who acted with compassion and donated to the Ottawa Food Bank to help your neighbours. Individuals such as Pauline and Doug who drove over three hours from their retirement community in Newcastle Ontario to deliver a monetary donation and a van full (890 pounds!) of food that the residents collected. And the kids in the Strathcona Heights community Carter, Blaine, Daniel, and Emily who made their own donation collection bin out of a Pringles can. Your help meant, and continues to mean, a lot to the people who have suddenly found themselves in need of support following the storm.
Thank you to our community food programs and partners
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, thank you to the food programs and community houses across the city who worked tirelessly to ensure your neighbours received assistance.
Emergency food programs opened their doors, worked extra hours, and took on additional clients. They made their community feel safe and cared for in a time of need.
A special thank you to our programs in the west end of the city, namely Morrison Gardens Emergency Food, Pinecrest Terrace Family House, Foster Farm Family House, and Britannia Woods Food Centre, who struggled significantly with the loss of power and their own food storage, and still handled a massive number of clients managing a loss of food as well. These programs offered extra services and even went door to door to help spread the word that they were open and available to help.
Food banks that bordered the affected areas in the west end, including Caldwell Family Centre, Debra Dynes Family House, and Westboro Region Food Service provided generous hampers, support, and supplemental services in an effort to help. Thank you for your generosity as you helped your regular clients and also offered service to anyone in need.
Thank you to Bethel Care Centre, who normally offer a food cupboard for people in their area. They went above and beyond and offered a full service after the tornado. They even planned to host service hours in their parking lot if their building did not get power in time. The centre extended their operating hours and included extra days and also operated an emergency pick-up service throughout the week.
In the south end both Banff Avenue and Pavilion Food Bank opened for an extra day of service and were ready to help their community in whatever way possible.
Beyond those specifically mentioned above, all programs serviced beyond their regular capacity and for that we are exceptionally grateful. We’re honoured to work with you all.
Also while not one of our agency partners, we worked closely with FAMSAC Food Cupboard who were exceptionally responsive addressing the needs of the area hit by the tornado. Thank you for all you did.
Working with Nepean Housing Corporation and Ottawa Community Housing was effective and rewarding. Combining our efforts, we were able to address the ongoing needs in these communities. Thank you for your knowledge and support along the way.
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I believe you have omitted the Parkdale Food Centre as one of your partners in this effort; as a volunteer who worked at the PFC the Monday following the tornado I was part of an effort to produce over 1000 bagged lunches for those neighbours and communities affected. I’ve also seen first hand how PFC has helped those affected by the storms by offering an additional visit to the PFC for the month of October. I’m sure it is just an error on your part to have not included them, they do play a critical part in the Community of Food Centres in Ottawa.
You’re right! They were instrumental in their community – they are an incredible program and we’re honoured to work with them. They are fortunate to have volunteers like you. Thank you for all you do to help Parkdale and your community, Deborah.