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One in nine households can’t afford real cost of eating well

Community members gathered last week to gain a better understanding the real cost of eating well.

It is not an easy situation for one in nine households in Hastings and Prince Edward counties facing food insecurity – a term describing those who do not have access to nutritious food on a daily basis. That equates to almost 17,000 people in the two counties. Hastings and Prince Edward counties ranks the second highest food insecure area in Ontario.

“Meal or No Meal” forums have been hosted this month by the Hastings and Prince Edward Health Unit and the Community Development Council of Quinte.

“When income is low and living expenses are high, people are left with little money to buy nutritious food,” said Elizabeth Finlan, dietitian with the health unit. “Too often, income is so low that people are forced to go hungry. Grocery money is often where they take from to cover other expenses.”

Finlan, and Ruth Ingersoll, executive director at the Community Development Council, led participants at the Bloomfield Town Hall through an interactive session emphasizing the difficulties faced by those living on fixed and low incomes. (See chart below from the Health Unit’s “Real Cost of Eating Well in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties 2014 Report)

Ingersoll told the group she was thrilled to see such a high attendance in Bloomfield, of people from a diversity of organizations.

“It can’t be just council members or members of specific groups working on solutions,” she said. “It has to be everybody in the community working together. These community meetings have been a great way to start those conversations.”

In Prince Edward County, there are a number of programs and services already under way including:

HUBbuttonThe Hub Family and Child Care Centre – Healthy Food Healthy Families Programs for young parents and children to gain knowledge about nutritious food purchasing, preparation and storage. The program is offered monthly and every family takes home a Good Food Box.
The Hub also offers a Good Baby Box program to assist families to stretch their food dollar, reduce costs and meet needs of infants and toddlers.

The Children’s Garden project was also created at The Hub to help build healthy eating habits with the children of Prince Edward County. Starting at a young age is key for building lifelong skills, along with hands on opportunities from planting to harvesting and eating the food.

For details on all these programs, and more visit:
The Hub Family and Child Care Centre
10 McFarland Court, Picton
Call 476-8142 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

* * *

Food-not-BombsFood Not Bombs is a community building group that includes free meals and food sharing, crafts, family events and clothes swaps. Events are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month, along with a special community meal and clothes swap the second Sunday of each month – at the Picton Town Hall, above the firehall, on Ross Street, Picton. Wednesday meals are from 5:30-7 p.m. Sunday all-day events begin with brunch from 11 a.m. to noon.For more information, or to get involved with FNB, e-mail: or like the page on Facebook at

* * *
HPEDSBbuttonVisit The Hastings Prince Edward District School Board website for more information on the Food for Learning program which provides food to school children in the form of a balanced breakfast, healthy snack or nutritious lunch.



* * *

CommCarebuttonCommunity Care for Seniors – Click for more information about Meals on Wheels; recreation and luncheon socials. Nutrition services include hot or frozen meals delivered to the door of clients or provided in a congregate setting in the rural parts of the County. Special diets can be accommodated.

Call 476-7493 Monday to Friday,
9am to 4:30 pm
or visit The Armoury
206 Main Street,
Suite 3A
* * *

Picton Care and Share Food Bank – open Fridays 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and closed holidays. Can be used once a month. Need photo ID, proof of income and expenses.
Picton United Church
12 Chapel St., Picton.
Call 476-8516

Storehouse Food Bank – open Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. or by appointment and open holidays. For residents of Wellington and district (north part of County).
Storehouse Wellington and District Foodbank
305 Niles St., Wellington
Wellington Pentecostal church basement
399-1450 or 399-1482

Salvation Army Food Bank – open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Closed holidays. Can be used once a month. Need photo ID, rent receipt, income statement and expenses (e.g. food, housing, hydro)
Salvation Army
46 Elizabeth St., Picton

Grocery vouchers – Open to Emergency grocery vouchers for County residents in emergency situations. Call for appointment. Need photo ID and health cards of children.
St. Vincent de Paul Committee
St. Gregory Parish
7 Church St., Picton


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  1. Tabitha says:

    The Meal or no Meal informational workshop was well done. It was nice to see the Mayor and some of the Council in attendance.

  2. gilbert says:

    Travel is an important cost that’s missed in that infographic. In a municipality like Prince Edward County, where there is virtually no public transportation and rental housing availability is scant, paying for transportation is a necessary expense that really should be represented.

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