Food bank use up across Canada, Kamloops

By Chad Klassen
November 17, 2015 - 6:55pm

The Kamloops Food Bank is following the national trend with slightly more demand in 2015 compared to a year ago. Overall, the Wilson Street location sees 2,400 visits every month, with 7,000 individuals that come to us in a year. 

Across the country, Food Bank Canada's HungerCount, released today, reveals more than 852,000 Canadians rely on food banks every month, modestly higher than 2014. 

The number of children five and under needing food banks decreased across the country, while demand among children as well as seniors went up in Kamloops.

"Close to 800 children accessing the food bank every single month, and that's for school snacks, groceries and fresh produce, so they're a big part of who we like to try and support in our community. That's a big number," says Operations Manager at the Kamloops Food Bank Wes Graham. 

Across Canada, the numbers show that since 2008, before the start of the financial crisis, reliance on food banks has jumped by 26%.

On average, there are 80,000 first-time clients every month across canada in 2015.

"That's a very stressful situation to be in for people, and we experience here in Kamloops about 100 new people, who have never been to a food bank before, each month, so we do experience that as well," says Siracky. 

According to the report, food banks in Alberta experienced the biggest spike, with 23% more demand compared to 2014, with unemployment numbers in that province increasing by 10% in the last 12 months.

Included in that group are some local Kamloops families that have been hit by the fall in oil prices. 

"We're experiencing some subtle ripple effects from that as well, with people from Horizon North getting laid off," says Siracky. "When people experience something like that, like a job loss, they need us, so the food bank usage in Alberta has spiked and that is specificially because of what's going on in their economy."

But with events like the bi-annual Rotary food drives, which bring in about 60,000 pounds of food, as well as the upcoming Basics for Babies, the Kamloops Food Bank remains on the leading edge of many across canada. 

"The generosity of Kamloops continues," says Siracky. "We are able to feed each person that walks through our door, and we're grateful for that."

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