Food banks struggle to keep up with increasing demand
A new report suggests the number of families needing food banks in B.C. is growing significantly, and many food banks across the province are having trouble keeping up with the demand.
Food bank usage in the province is up 23 per cent from 2008, according to Food Bank Canada’s 2012 Hunger Report released Tuesday.
“These recent numbers are unsettling and unfortunately show that life is getting harder for many people in our province," said NDP social development critic Carole James.
The increase is causing Metro Vancouver food banks to worry they won’t have enough food to feed the hungry.
“Even though we've seen the volume stay steady this year, it’s still steady at a way higher rate than what we're able to sustain,” said Martin Wyant, from Share Family and Community Services.
Food banks in the Tri-Cities are reporting a whopping 60 per cent increase in the number of people needing help in the last five years.
The report also shows the type of people using food banks has changed since the recession -- 11 per cent of users were employed.
“Canadians that actually go to work every single day still are not making enough to put food on the table,” said Marzena Gersho from Food Banks of Canada. “Higher paying jobs that you would see in natural resources… are really disappearing and people are moving into the service sector and of course those jobs just don't pay as well.”
Wyant said the people needing help range from families with children to seniors.
“When you have a… modest income and costs just for housing and for food that are increasing that gap can become quite significant,” Wyant said.
With the Christmas season approaching, Share Family and Community Services will be looking for 55,000 more food items to fill the need.