Demand has soared for the Friends In Need Food Bank and keeping up with the demand is getting more difficult as the holiday season approaches.
Food bank manager Evan Seal said that since June there have been about 150 new families who have registered for their services.
“That takes a big bite out of our daily allotment again, because we kind of schedule people coming on certain days based on how much food we have and when those numbers go up like that it really affects us and our ability to feed people,” he noted.
And, he added, that on certain days they are running out of food to give people.
A busy day for the food bank is usually about 60-70 people in the lineup.
However, on Wednesday, Dec. 7, Seal was helping to hand out food because they did not have enough volunteers, and he said, they served 104 people.
“The line just didn’t go away,” he said. “It just kept getting longer and snaking around the corner.”
He said serving an extra 30 to 40 people, makes it difficult for the food bank to budget – especially when it comes to items like milk and eggs, that the food bank orders specifically for their clients.
“It’s hard to keep up,” he said.
In fact, food banks across Canada have hit record numbers in2022. About 1.5 million people accessed a food bank across the country in March alone.
British Columbia has seen a 31 per cent increase in food bank visits since 2019, with children and seniors representing 30 per cent and 12 per cent of users respectively.
Loblaw just launched their annual Holiday Food Drive, that runs until Saturday, Dec. 24.
Residents of Maple Ridge are being asked to make food or cash donations to the Friends in Need Food Bank while they shop for groceries and other items.
All food and monetary donations will go to Friends in Food Bank to help community members in need.
“The community is great,” said Seal. “It’s amazing how the community comes out and people just come in with a cheque for $1,000.”
This weekend firefighters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be across both communities collecting for the food band and the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society during the annual Firefighters for Families campaign.
Golfers who took part in the Broken Balls Annual Golf Tournament, including Adam and Alphonse Seward, raised $4,100 in cash and 760 pounds of non-perishable food for the Friends In Need Food Bank.
Staff and photographers at Murphy’s Christmas Tree Farm raised more than $1,312.45 for the food bank from the sale of hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and coffee, as well as from Santa Claus photos and from tree sales at the farm. An extra 150 pounds of food was collected at Terri-Lynn Macdonald’s photography sessions.
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