The use of food banks in Canada has gone up, especially in Alberta. As waves of layoffs in the energy sector continue, a report by Food Banks Canada say food banks in this province helped more than 67,000 in March alone. Here in Grande Prairie, Major Edith Beveridge says the Salvation Army has seen a more than 30 per cent increase over the past three months.
“We are definitely seeing some new people and I’ve been getting calls even recently from quite a few people saying, ‘I haven’t ever asked for help before but I’m kind of in a bad way financially right now.’ We’ve also seen some people that are just on a tight income that are finding it a little harder.”
People are also coming back more often, partly because the Sally Anne now gives access to hampers once every 30 days, instead of four times a year. Major Beveridge says they’re seeing 70 to 100 people in the food line every day.
The Rotary Food Drive just helped fill their shelves, but the food bank is in need of donations of non-perishables year-round.
“We’re welcoming donations all year round because typical as soon as Christmas is over and you get into January/February that donations really drop off and that’s when you start to see a need again, especially non-perishable foods. Any time people have perishable things we really welcome them as well.”
The HungerCount 2015 report showed a slight increase in Canadians getting help from food banks, but in Alberta the number went up 23 per cent between March 2015 and 2016