Posted by C. Richard Campbell on Mar 23, 2018
March 19, 2018
Story by C. Richard Campbell
Photographs provided by the Simcoe Caring Cupboard and by C. Richard Campbell
President Hadley Jackson presenting a cheque to Al Martens of the Simcoe Caring Cupboard
Rotary President Hadley Jackson presents a cheque to Al Martens of the Simcoe Caring Cupboard.

Simcoe Caring Cupboard aka The Local Food Bank

Like taxes, death and disappointing politicians, food banks have become an integral part of local life.


Al Martens is the Chair/Administrator of the Simcoe Caring Cupboard. He spoke to the Club on March 19, 2018. The Simcoe Caring Cupboard allows a client who has been prequalified on every visit to shop using points to select food that he or she will eat. Based on need, a larger family may be shopping for food weekly while others may be shopping less frequently. At this time of year when heating bills are high, there is a greater need for food.


Simcoe Caring Cupboard

By allowing the client to select his or her own food, the Simcoe Caring Cupboard avoids the problem of the food ending up in a nearby dumpster. What we learned from Al Martens is that when a food bank client is handed a box of food put together by a food bank, some of the contents of the box may be discarded because of a dislike of the food or because the client doesn’t have access to basic cooking facilities.



The Simcoe Caring Cupboard serves 70 clients a week. Additionally, in partnership with Wraparound Simcoe, it also provides financial consulting, prepares income tax returns (at no charge) and facilitates such things as registration in the federal Registered Education program and applications for rebates under the Ontario Energy Support Program. A number of tax credits are only available to a client who files an income tax return annually. As well, there are other government programs available to clients who apply for them.


The Simcoe Caring Cupboard is innovative. They have identified the fact that many clients are limited to certain foods because of the lack of or inadequate cooking facilities. Those clients without basic cooking facilities can, for example, sign up for a cooking course to learn how to use a slow cooker. It is a marvelous invention, just ask a hungry bachelor with weak cooking skills. The Simcoe Caring Cupboard has collaborated with the Salvation Army in Simcoe to provide this course and the successful students receive a slow cooker.


 It is not often that the Club donates money to an organization and on the same day visits the facility to observe the delivery on a monster stand up refrigeration unit and freezer right before our eyes.


New Refrigeration Equipment

You get a sense of dedicated volunteers and innovation. The volunteers that work at the Simcoe Caring Cupboard may say that it is more the application of common sense rather than innovation. They are a modest bunch!