Danell Hunter and her family of five have been relying on the Bread of Life Food Share in Merville for almost two years.
“We were in a car accident four years ago and times have just gotten tough. With the increase in prices, we just can’t keep up,” said Hunter.
And it’s a familiar story. Hunter is one of 1,600 clients that use Bread of Life, some people even from as far as Sayward and Bowser.
Thirteen years ago, there were a dozen clients and just a few years ago, 250.
“A stereotypical version of an individual we thought that would access a food bank was a down and outer maybe. Now, it’s maybe the people next door. Definitely the people down the street,” said the Bread of Life’s Chad Hooker.
“It means the world to me. Excellent. I don’t know how I’d survive one month to the next without it,” said client Lloyd Scarff.
Twenty-five per cent of the food is donated, but they still have to buy three-quarters of it, and when 30 per cent of the clients are children, they try to fill their shelves with foods as healthy as possible.
The problem is, they’re facing inflation like everyone else, so it’s getting harder to do it every week.
“To be honest, there’s some very sleepless nights where we don’t know what’s going to happen from week to week. The amount of food that’s going out, the number of phone calls coming in,” added Hooker.
“We are not part of the BC Food Banks, we are an independent food bank, so we look to donations for food,” added Chad’s wife, Tanya.
Everyone working here is a volunteer like Kerry Enns, who’s been doing it for four years.
“And it’s hard not to get too emotional sometimes because it’s rough. You see it when people come in,” she said.
They’re now hoping the community and businesses will help them keep up with the growing demand.
“We give charitable receipts,” said Hooker.
It costs upwards of $10,000 a month to fill the shelves.
Find the Bread of Life Food Share here.