More than 1 million people to access food banks in 2024: report

A recent report by a food rescue charity says more than one million people are expected to access food banks, this year alone.

In its report “Hungry for Change,” Second Harvest says an additional $76,000 is needed per food bank to match the increased demand.

Corina Carroll, executive director of the South Surrey White Rock Food Bank, tells CityNews food shortages have proved to be a challenge amid increased demand.

“We’ve seen a 32 per cent increase in usage from last year and we continue to see new families and individuals register every day,” she said.

“We’re facing increased food costs, as everyone is, and our buying power, what we can get for our dollar, is going down with increased food prices.”

Carroll says the food bank is in need of different types of supplies, including more volunteers as it looks to extend its hours.

Plus, she says the food bank heavily relies on its cash donations to go to stores and purchase food.

Carroll says the shortage has to do with people experiencing “economic tightening of their belts,” and food banks are trying to “meet more needs with less” resources.

“We’re short on food donations, and we are expecting that some cash donations will actually start to decrease over time,” Carroll said.

Carroll says the food bank she works at does not keep waitlists of people to access food and just donates food as needed. However, due to increasing numbers, it may have to start rationing the food it has.

“If the numbers keep increasing the way they have been and the supplies keep going down, we may have to look at how much we’re able to give out per individual or per family.”

She tells CityNews that the people the food bank is serving the most are working families — people between the age of 29 and 45, with children.

Carroll adds that seniors account for 13 per cent of users, and she thinks that number will also grow.

“As we see the aging population start to… have less money coming in, possibly, they’re dealing with rising costs. So I think that number will will continue to grow,” she says.

She adds there are multiple ways people can choose to help fight hunger.

“Anything from volunteering at a food bank, running a food drive with friends, family or neighbourhoods, contributing cash directly to sources or your local food bank.”

With files from Chris Koo.

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