Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Food bank demand continues to rise in St. Mary’s

  • January 3 2024
  • By Luke Ettinger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

SHERBROOKE — Demand for food at the St. Mary’s Food bank is rising – a trend that is likely to continue in 2024.

“Every month we’ve been adding clients, both seniors and young families; just with the cost of groceries, fuel, everything really is going up,” said Derek Elsworth, chairperson of the St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Elsworth said there are now 40 households being supported by the food bank. He said the number of people receiving monthly food support has almost doubled in the past year.

“It’s really a stop-gap measure, providing a few meals, maybe a week’s worth of food,” he said.

A food price report, compiled by researchers from four Canadian universities, says they are expected to continue to climb, but at a slower rate in 2024.

“The year 2023 posed significant financial challenges for Canadian families, one of the toughest in recent memory,” said professor Sylvain Charlebois, project lead and director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, in a media release on Dec. 7

Nova Scotians saw food price increases of 6.2 per cent, which is above the national average, according to the report.

“We expect the need to continue to grow for some time,” Elsworth said, “unless we see some significant government policy changes or income changes.”

Elsworth highlighted the importance of corporate support and community fundraisers that collect donations for the organization. He said non-perishable food and monetary donations make a big difference.

“People are really generous in this community,” he said. “In this area, people will really step up as soon as there is need.”

As a new year begins, Elsworth said the food bank is specifically looking for administrative support. Anyone interested in learning more can contact (902) 833-2920 or foodbankstmarys@gmail.com