Demand for food bank services ‘explodes’ in Quebec-Zamkuwire - Zamkuwire.com

Demand for food bank services ‘explodes’ in Quebec-Zamkuwire

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Food banks across Quebec say that in the past year, they’ve seen demand explode and their ability to help more limited.

Those are some of the conclusions in the annual “Bilain-Faim” or hunger report from Les Banques alimentaires du Québec, Quebec’s food bank network, which was released Thursday.

The report found that across the province, demand for food bank services has gone up 20 per cent from last year, going from 1.9 million requests every month to 2.2 million.

Network members are having a hard time meeting demand, with two-thirds of them reporting that in the past year, they didn’t receive enough stock from their usual providers.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce’s Depot Community Food Centre is also struggling to keep up with demand.

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“By May, the demand just started spiking,” said Tasha Lackman, The Depot’s executive director. “We’re now serving over 2,000 people every month.”

That’s just in their emergency program, one of many.

The non-profit says that more than 100 new families have joined since May, double from previous years.

“Many of those people have working income. At least 10 per cent and growing are people who have jobs and have had to resort to using a food bank,” Lackman said.

Factors such as high interest rates, rising food costs, fewer donations and difficulty hiring staff are coming together as “a perfect storm,’” said Véronique Beaulieu-Fowler, philanthropical development director at Les Banques Alimentaires du Quebec.

Neither Beaulieu-Fowler nor the Depot expect more people will need help in the next few months.

“It’s really terrifying,” Lackman said. “We are preparing for the worst. We are brainstorming, we are trying to be creative, innovative and trying to bolster the team, hire support to do it, recruit volunteers and fundraise to allow for this gap that will be in our budget.”

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Both also agreed that the government needs to step up to the plate.

“We need government programs to kick in and recognize this growing need so we can continue to offer the services in the front lines,” Lackman explains.

Lackman and Québec’s food bank network encourage people to donate if they can or volunteer.

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