Clearwater Food Bank needs help, according to treasurer Pat Stanley.
“Our money is down 20 per cent from what it was last year at this time,” he said. “At the same time, the numbers of hampers we are giving out has gone from 59 in September of 2012 to 71 this year.”
The food bank has gained 22 new clients since the middle of June. The biggest growth is with seniors.
The situation at Clearwater Food Bank has gotten so bad that, for the first time since he started volunteering there eight years ago, they have started cutting back on the size of hampers.
All those involved in Clearwater Food Bank are volunteers, he stressed.
During the summer they have been busy gleaning from local gardens, but that is no longer possible.
Because of the increasing demand, the food bank was forced to move into a larger space to have adequate storage. Even though the owner is giving them a good deal with the rent, they still are paying double what they did before.
The majority of those using the food bank belong to the working poor – meaning they are employed but not making enough to make ends meet.
Changes to Employment Insurance over the past few years mean people are forced to take jobs that don’t pay well, Stanley said.
“The problem isn’t just in Clearwater, B.C. or Canada,” he said. “It’s the same in the U.S. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing.”
“We need help,” Stanley said. “At the rate we’re going right now, it’s not sustainable.”
Anyone wanting to make a donation can drop by Clearwater Food Bank any Monday or Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.
Donations can also be made at Royal Bank or Interior Savings Credit Union.
Those seeking further information can call the food bank at 250-674-3402. Alternatively, they can call Pat Stanley or his wife Heather Stanley, the food bank chair, at 250-674-3697.