Demand for food bank soars during July

The Salvation Army Food Bank has seen a spike in numbers lately, but so far they’ve been able to handle it.

Community services manager Dave Byers says that in July the bank saw its numbers rise to 2,400, and that was just people who were coming in to get food off the table, which generally consists of food that is nearing its expiry date or fresh produce – not hampers.

“It’s just absolutely unheard of, it’s kind of unbelievable,” said Byers, noting typical numbers are 1,600 or 1,700 people. “We’ve been crazy, I don’t remember seeing it being this busy.”

Byers also noted June was a busy month, with the food bank seeing approximately 2,000 people.

He speculates the reasons for the increase may simply be because of the lack of jobs in Salmon Arm.

“I do keep hearing it’s hard to find work,” said Byers, adding that a lot of people in the city who do work aren’t making much money, many making close to minimum wage.

Byers also noted the food bank often sees people stop in who are travelling from out of town.

“People drive through on the highway and see the big red badge,” said Byers.

Although numbers have increased, Byers says that so far, the food bank hasn’t had to scrounge to keep the food on the table – yet.

“I hope this (increase) isn’t a trend that continues,” says Byers. “Because otherwise we’d be hard done by.”

Run primarily on donations, Byers says many organizations in Salmon Arm help out with food drives and donations, and community members often drop off food.

“We have a great community,” he said. “We’re always needing things, stuff that will really last.”

Byers says right now, what the food bank is lacking is good proteins, items such as jerky, chicken and tuna with pop-top lids.

The food bank is run with the support of volunteers, generally about 60 people donating their time.

“Some of them come in every day,” he says.


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