Earlier this month, Food Banks Canada released a startling statistic - 23 per cent of Canadians are reporting eating “less than they should” due to inflation. This survey matches what Richmond food bank volunteers have also seen recently.
Last month, the number of clients Richmond Food Bank served increased by 16 per cent, according to Hajira Hussain, executive director of Richmond Food Bank.
This translates to an average of 1,900 individuals being served by the local food bank each week, noted Hussain.
“Staff and volunteers are working extended hours to meet the increased demand for grocery assistance. The food bank is experiencing a higher volume of clients and the need will continue to grow in the coming weeks,” said Hussain, noting that other food banks across Metro Vancouver are experiencing the same.
Among the 1,900, Hussain said they are seeing both returning and new customers, as well as Ukrainian refugees.
The rising cost of living is the culprit behind the upswing in demand, Hussain added.
Meanwhile, donations to the food bank have dropped recently – also because of the 6.8 per cent inflation rate, according to the Hussain.
“People are more careful with their money. In terms of a message, I want people to know we need their support now more than ever,” said Hussain.
Monetary donations to the food bank are most valuable, as they allow staff to purchase fresh food, such as fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods, and dairy products. In addition to monetary donations, food donations are also welcome, including pasta, rice, canned protein, peanut butter, canned tomatoes, vegetables, and fruits.