The Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank in Sidney is one of many facing a summer shortfall of donations, but more people in need.
“Inflation is having a huge impact on people of this community and we’re seeing new faces every day in the food bank,” said Operations Manager Tyson Elder.
New families, new seniors, young people and many others they’ve never seen are signing up for help.
“We’ve had a lot of refugees coming in and asking for assistance which we think is great, we don’t want anyone out there struggling but we’re finding that many people who used to be donors are actually coming back and asking for assistance,” said Bev Elder, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank and also a board member at Food Bank BC.
Elder says the food bank usually buys lots of food from wholesalers, but instead of getting pallets of food, they’re only getting a few cases due to distribution issues.
Summer is also slow for donations unlike winter and Christmas when it’s more top of mind.
“Usually summertime is a hard time for food banks across the board,” added Tyson. “That’s when kids are at home eating you out of house and home.”
Overall, demand is up 20 to 30 per cent in the last few months and at least four new households are being registered every day hampers are given out.
Rising costs in everyday life are pushing people to the end of their pay cheques.
“Gas prices, housing costs, food costs just all going up,” said Tyson Elder. “Mom and dad are working, family members are working, they’ve just been struggling to get that food on the table.”
And it is not a problem unique to Sidney or Vancouver Island.
“Province-wide from small food banks to large food banks. We all seem to have the same issues you know with getting food items through the door,” said Bev.
“If you’re at the grocery store and you’re buying a box of cereal for yourself, grab one for us. If it’s a case-lot sale, grab a case of soup for yourself and for us,” said Tyson.
They say personal sanitary items are also very much in need.