OTTAWA -- More families are turning to the Kanata Food Cupboard for their Easter dinner this year.

In addition to regular food services, the Easter Hamper program is one of four seasonal offerings. The others are Christmas, Thanksgiving, and back-to-school.

The organization is seeing a 48 per cent increase compared to 2019. According to Kaitlyn Lalonde, Client and Community Outreach Coordinator with the Kanata Food Cupboard, they have received 363 orders, compared to a previous record of 245 hampers given out for Easter 2019.

“You kind of budget these numbers, and you predict using our data where you think we’ll be but we were just hitting milestone after milestone after milestone, and the need has just continued,” says Lalonde.

There were lower numbers last Easter, but that’s because the food cupboard closed temporarily during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hampers are filled with everything needed for a complete Easter dinner, including treats for children.

“We know there’s a lot of stress there, and we’re hoping that it’s a way for families to feel normal, and feel like a part of the community, and that they get to experience everything that everyone else does, because they should get to,” says Lalonde.

Lalonde says the need for all regular programming is up.

She adds that this year has been difficult for many clients, and the Easter hamper is special to them.

“We know that this year, more families than ever are in a position where they can’t do the extra things," she says. "Maybe parents aren’t working or kids are struggling in school. Even though it may be a smaller Easter, it’s still a chance to celebrate and feel special and take a moment and pause.”

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