Hundreds of food boxes handed out in Kitchener Thursday

kitchener (WPVI) – Hundreds of people decked out in face masks and latex gloves wrapped around the United Bank of Kitchener Thursday morning in West Kitchener to pick up a box of fresh fruits and vegetables.

People’s Emergency Center (PEC) organizers say food access is an ongoing problem in low-income communities as COVID-19 is creating a real crisis.

“We only have one full-service grocery store in this neighborhood. It’s about a mile and a half, two miles away. The other grocery store, which was about half a mile away, closed earlier this year,” said James Wright, PEC’s director for Community development. “I think access is the main thing, and then you can only imagine the economic stress people are under.”

Wright says every household was given a box with no questions asked. He says volunteers distributed around 400 boxes.

“This is what we generally do to reach out to the neighborhood to meet needs and fortify assets, but now it’s something completely different,” Wright said. “And so it’s just great to be part of this effort.”

According to Wright, the food aid program is a partnership between the City of Kitchener, Philabundance, SHARE and other partners in the community.

With so many recipients today, Wright said the 6-foot rule of social distancing was a big problem.

“We’re asking people to use the lines on the sidewalk to place themselves. It’s a constant reminder,” he said.

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