Clearwater and District Food Bank predicts tougher times ahead in 2023 with inflation and rising food costs.
While the food bank is padded to meet the needs of the Clearwater clientele for two more months owing to “generous donations” from community members, things are going to be difficult, says Linda Selbee the treasurer of the Clearwater food bank.
The food bank serves over 125 households in the Clearwater area, said Selbee, adding, the number of clients is going to increase in the coming months. Majority of their clientele are aged between 55 and 60 and they also serve 39 children.
In December they plan on serving 184 Christmas hampers to these households with support from the community. Events such as the Christmas fundraiser and the RCMP’s annual Cram the Cruiser are a big part of their donations this time of the year.
While the food bank has built a surplus to last them until December Selbee said they will have to pivot and work around several challenges after that time frame.
“Come January and February, with rising prices, we might see lesser donations and more clientele,” Selbee said.
In addition, rural communities will also see donations from government sources and Food Bank Canada diverted towards cities which have to serve clients daily compared to food banks like Clearwater which serve clients once a week on Thursdays.
Last month, in a report published by Food Banks Canada, the organization reported a record number of people using their services this year owing to high inflation. It showed a 35 per cent increase in usage in the past two years.
Selbee also said, donations [in the community] are also overall down, she said.
“In fall we usually get a lot of garden donations, fresh produce and proteins… through COVID-19 we had enough,but now we don’t,” Selbee said.
“It just means our hampers will consist of dry goods, canned foods and less of produce and proteins,” she said.
With content reducing and clientele increasing, it is going to be a challenge but they will work around changing and substituting products where they can.
“I think overall, Clearwater is fortunate because we get good support from our community. We post what we need and by when and people want to donate,” Selbee added.