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Non-perishable food hard to find for Maple Ridge food bank

Friends In Need Food Bank seeing increase in the cost of bulk purchases
Executive director of the Friends In Need Food Bank, Mary Robson, is hoping more people will take part in the Plant-A-Row, Grow-A-Row program, where gardeners are being asked to grow a row of fresh vegetables for the food bank. (Special to The News)

Food banks across the country are dealing with a surge in demand for their services as inflation continues to climb.

In Maple Ridge, the Friends In Need Food Bank is not seeing the same demand, but executive director Mary Robson is having a hard time getting non-perishable food for the hampers – a problem Robson normally sees at this time of the year.

“The grocery supply chain is still not fixed and we are seeing an increase in the cost of our bulk purchases. So I can say with inflation and supply chain, we are very concerned about going into the summer months,” said Robson, noting that the food bank has to purchase the needed items themselves.

A new Food Banks Canada report states that about seven million Canadians, or one in five, have complained of going hungry at least once between March 2020 to March 2022.

Their research indicates that 23 per cent of Canadians have said that they are eating less than they should be because of rising inflation and that 61 per cent believe the cost of housing is now the biggest contributor to food insecurity in the country.

Food Banks Canada’s newly-appointed CEO Kirstin Beardsley believes this summer will be the toughest for food banks in Canada in their 41 year history.

“The majority of food banks in every region of Canada are already stretched to their limits, with demand expected to remain high throughout the summer months as more and more Canadians struggle to cope with rising inflation,” noted Beardsley.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge food bank to benefit from nationwide grocery chain drive

ALSO: Car crashes into Maple Ridge food bank building

Robson says she does not know how families are coping with the current cost of living as the food band is not seeing a marked increase in new clients over the past five months of this year compared to the same period last year.

The number of new registrations has increased about 10 per cent, Robson elaborated, with more larger families re-registering.

Donations from individuals have also remained the same between the first five months of last year and this year.

Robson is happy that donations from corporations has actually increased.

She wants to encourage people who are struggling to get help.

“For the families that are having to decide between rent, utilities and food, please reach out to the food bank to help with the food. There is no reason for anyone in our community to go hungry,” said Robson.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

Colleen Flanagan is an award-winning multimedia journalist with more than 15 years experience in the industry.
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