‘It’s just getting incredibly expensive’: Summer food bank use rising on Vancouver Island


Sarah Low says she never imagined she would need Nanaimo’s Loaves and Fishes Food Bank to feed her family.

That all changed in January, when the nurse of 15 years suffered a nearly fatal and life-altering stroke. She had to learn to walk and talk all over again while also covering bills on her disability income.

“It’s just getting so unmanageable out there financially. Just with the rising food costs, it’s getting incredibly expensive,” Low told CHEK News.

The mother of two is one of a growing number of clients relying on food banks across Vancouver Island going into the summer.

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So Tuesday, Loaves and Fishes executive director Peter Sinclair set out on a cross-Island ride.

The Food for Summer food drive, which includes fellow riders and runners, will visit communities from Chemainus to Port Hardy to raise awareness and donations for a need that stretches from cities to remote Island villages.

“So getting out to places like Tahsis, Gold River and Zeballos, we wanted to show that we do provide food across Vancouver Island,” Sinclair told CHEK News.

According to Loaves and Fishes, food bank demand is expected to grow in the summer, ranging from 10 to 30 per cent depending on the month, even as donations drop off.

“No matter the reason. Whether it’s high prices or loss of a job, or other challenges that people are facing, we are there to provide food,” said Sinclair.

On Tuesday, staff from Island Savings in Nanaimo climbed aboard for the cause, hosting a spin-a-thon to support the food bank meet its summer needs.

“So trying to raise as much as we can when we know the food banks are low,” said Nanaimo branch manager Kathy Berg.

As food bank clients like Low find themselves struggling and trying to overcome setbacks as others prepare for summer vacations.

Skye Ryan

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