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Salmon Arm food bank struggling to keep up with inflation

Second Harvest manager said donations dramatically down
Vahlleri Semeniuk, manager at Second Harvest food bank in Salmon Arm, said the food bank is just meeting the demand of the 225 families it serves each week. (File photo)

With inflation rising and the cost of everything going up, many people can no longer afford the things they need, let alone have anything extra to give to others in need.

As a result, Shuswap food banks are struggling, with more people accessing their services and less product to go around.

Second Harvest food bank manager Valherri Semeniuk said donations are down dramatically and the food bank is just meeting the demand of the 225 families it serves each week.

The organization needs five to six months of excess food on shelves and in freezers to be prepared for any given season. This year, it is nowhere near that number.

Second Harvest relies on two food drives a year, and this fall’s Thanksgiving drive delivered about half of the normal food donations it receives.

This reduction means Semeniuk has already had to start buying food (which has all gotten more expensive with inflation) to hand out, which she normally doesn’t have to do until mid-December. This eats into the rest of Second Harvest’s yearly budget and it will have less funding for emergencies or extras.

Second Harvest’s clientele are mostly seniors, working families and people living with disabilities. Without donations and help, these people will go hungry.

If you would like to help, donations can be dropped off at Second Harvest Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m., and Fridays from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering or arranging a donation outside of these hours, email or phone 250-833-4011.

The Salmon Arm Salvation Army hasn’t been hit as hard this year due to a new employee, Jen Gilfillan, who has been working to better access federal funding the organization receives.

Once the Salvation Army’s hampers have gone out and the extra food has been taken by people day-to-day through the Table initiative, Gilfillan takes the remaining boxes of food to Cedar Place supportive housing, the SAFE Society Transition House and back to Second Harvest. This self-contained ecosystem tries to ensure nothing gets wasted and that nobody helped by these various organizations gets left behind.

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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