The Red Deer Food Bank has been experiencing increased demand this year. (Advocate file photo)

The Red Deer Food Bank has been experiencing increased demand this year. (Advocate file photo)

Red Deer Food Bank facing high demand

New Food Banks Canada report shows one in five Canadian now report going hungry

Food banks across the country are seeing increased hunger and food insecurity right now due to rising inflation and housing costs, and the Red Deer Food Bank is no different.

A new report, released by Food Banks Canada Monday, shows one in five Canadian now report going hungry, with 23 per cent reporting they are eating less “than they think they should” because there isn’t enough money for food.

Mitch Thomson, Red Deer Food Bank executive director, said there has been a large increase in demand across all of Alberta.

“In Red Deer, there is a large number of people who are working and just struggling to keep food on the table,” said Thomson.

“There’s a large number of people who are employed and doing the best they can, but need a little help to ensure their children get fed or that they have what they need to get through the month.”

RELATED: More new families, children are using the Red Deer Food Bank

Kirstin Beardsley, Food Banks Canada CEO, said this summer will be the “toughest Canada’s food banks have ever experienced” in the organization’s 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,” said Beardsley.

Sixty-one per cent of Canadians now believe that rising housing costs are the biggest barrier that is preventing Canadians from being able to afford food, a sentiment that has doubled in the past year alone, according to Beardsley.

Typically, food banks across Canada see an easing of demand during the summer months, but according to Beardsley, food bankers on the frontlines are reporting no signs of slowdowns.

RELATED: Spring Food Drive to support Red Deer Food Bank

Thomson said the Red Deer Food Bank is doing the best it can to respond to the increased demand.

“This Christmas we had some tremendous support from the community. Our fundraising was a little bit down and our need was greater. That need continued right into the new year and has stayed pretty steady,” he said.

“Donations do slow down as you pull out of the winter. So it has been a struggle for us. For example, in our first quarter, our donations were down about $100,000, but our expenses for purchasing food were up about $175,000.”

Thomson said people are able to donate produce they grow themselves.

“So many of us tend to garden and we may have a little bit more bounty than one area or another. Those are food stocks we can provide for others,” he said, adding the food bank would “love to support” anyone interested in putting on a food drive.

For more information on the Red Deer Food Bank, visit www.reddeerfoodbank.com.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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