The council for the town of Smiths Falls received three delegations during Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, each submitting a Community Grant request.
Reverend Christopher Ryan of Trinity United Church and Michelle Bellows of Rideau Community Health Services represented five local organizations who are working together as the Smiths Falls Food Security Advocacy Group, which seeks to help those who are hungry and/or isolated in Smiths Falls. Collectively, this group serves 23840 meals in Smiths Falls annually, providing nutrition and socialization for citizens experiencing food insecurity and/or loneliness. Ryan pointed out the unexpected success of feeding the hungry (through bagged lunches) during the Covid-19 pandemic. Trinity, for example, expected to serve up to 70 meals per week. Demand grew hugely during the pandemic and they have been serving approximately 340 meals per week.
Ryan noted that when The Mission (formerly of 34 Beckwith St) closed early in 2020, it left a void in town; “along with food to eat, folks in our community need a place to gather, a common room of sorts.” Ryan pointed out that they serve meals to “a complete cross-section of Smiths Falls: seniors, singles, families, middle aged folk. Most, we believe, come because of food security issues; they come to eat. Some come to address social isolation; they come to eat with someone else, so they’re not alone.” The Smiths Falls Food Security Advocacy Group thanked town council for their support in the past, and requested $110 000 to continue to meet the needs of Smiths Falls citizens through 2021.
Sandra Burelli of Big Brothers Big Sisters also presented town council with a Community Grant request for $25 000, and Tony Humphreys of the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario requested $20 000.