During Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls, Mayor Shawn Pankow read a letter from Reverend Christopher Ryan of Trinity United Church. Trinity United in Smiths Falls has been serving approximately 340 lunches over two days each week during the pandemic. “They saw a steep increase in need with Covid-19,” explained Mayor Pankow. In Smiths Falls, a hungry person can access a free hot meal six days a week: these are provided by Trinity United, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and Rideau Community Health Services.
Prior to the pandemic, Trinity United served 40-60 people two days each week. Due to the steep increase in demand, they have run out of funds to continue serving the hungry for the rest of 2020 and into early 2021. Reverend Ryan wrote to Council, requesting that Council consider giving Trinity the remaining funds in the Community Grant program. Mayor Pankow noted that this is a “stop-gap measure for the short term.” Councillor McKenna thanked the community volunteers who do “amazing work with very few resources in a very difficult time.” He also pointed out that the increased need is a red flag that requires attention.
Council agreed, and voted to allocate the remaining funds in the Community Grant program to Trinity United for their lunch program.