Soaring inflation worsens food gap, as kids prepare to go back to school

By Raynaldo Suarez

With the start of the school year just weeks away, a B.C. charity says it is seeing more demand for its meal services than ever before.

The price of food purchased at stores rose 9.7 per cent in May compared with a year earlier, according to Statistics Canada. The cost of almost everything in the grocery stores climbed higher.

Emily Anne King, co-executive chair of Backpack Buddies says the charity is seeing a trend in families who are suddenly struggling to put food on the table.

“Our program currently supports throughout the school year, upwards of 4,000 students every single week all across our. But we are getting phone calls every single day from new communities, new schools, new community agencies we’ve never connected with, pleading for help,” she said.

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King says with food inflation pegged at 8.8 per cent, it is putting a lot of pressure on families and kids.

Backpack Buddies started in 2012 after mother-daughter duo, Joanne and Emily-Anne came up with the idea to build connections and commitment from the community to tackle childhood hunger.

The charity fills backpacks with meal items, fresh fruit, and snacks to last the entire weekend and beyond. Teams drive trucks through Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, delivering bags to schools on Friday mornings to tackle the weekend food gap, when children are away from school-offered meal programs.

With more food price increases expected in the fall, Backpack Buddies are urging those who want to get involved to visit their website to donate or volunteer.

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