As the general cost of living in Canada has continued to rise, many food banks have been seeing an increase in visits. According to a report from Food Banks Canada released in October of this year, food bank usage has seen it’s highest year-over-year increase since the survey started in 1989. Because this increase has been so sudden and rapid, many food banks are concerned that they will be unable to fill the needs of their communities should the current trends continue.
At the Parkdale Community Food Bank, we have seen the impact of the cost of living crisis on our community firsthand. In just a few short months, the number of visits have increased significantly, leaving us sometimes struggling to keep up with our communities needs. Between July and November of this year, we went from seeing approximately 6,000 monthly visits to over 9,000. The amount of food we give out each week has also increased greatly in the same period, from around 6,000-9,000 tonnes to approximately 17-20 tonnes.
To address this growing need, we are seeking additional support from our community. We are currently in need of volunteers to join us in our Delivery Program, which is critical to ensuring that food gets to those in our community who are unable to leave their homes. We currently have a waitlist of individuals seeking support from our Delivery Program, and need additional drivers in order to meet their needs. Without drivers, we simply cannot reach everyone who requires assistance. If you are free to support us even one day a week, please send an email to email@example.com or sign up to be a driver using our sign up form.
In addition to volunteer support, we also need monetary and nonperishable donations. Donations of soup, canned meats, snacks, toiletries, and menstrual pads are especially needed.
As our community has grown and changed shape, so have their needs. We find that the current foods we have access to do not meet the cultural needs of our community. Because of this, we have launched our Feast 4 Parkdale campaign to help us raise funds to provide culturally appropriate and diverse foods to our community. Every dollar raised through this fundraiser will go towards purchasing items that are very rarely donated and often requested.
It is essential that we come together as a community during these challenging times to support each other. By supporting local food banks and advocating for a more equitable future, we can create positive change. Any support you can provide, no matter how small it may seem, will make a huge difference in the lives of our community members.