Food bank use in Salmon Arm and around B.C. continues to climb – and the implementation of long-term solutions is long overdue.
Salmon Arm’s Salvation Army Food Bank is serving an average of 3,000 people a month, with more than 3,300 in the month of May this year and 3,200 last December.
Food Banks Canada’s newly released statistics, Hunger Count 2015, show that 852,000 Canadians use food banks every month. In B.C., it’s 100,000 each month, with one in three a child. According to Food Banks B.C., this is B.C.’s highest level of food bank use ever. In contrast, the rich are getting richer.
The organization points out there is no typical person who turns to a food bank for help. They include seniors, people with disabilities, people with terminal illnesses, single parents, families with both parents working.
The First Call Coalition fighting child poverty recently released a report with 21 recommendations, the majority for the provincial government. They include raising disability and income assistance rates, ending the clawback of maternity and parental leave benefits, raising the minimum wage so B.C. isn’t the second-lowest in Canada and working with the feds to implement affordable child care.
Poverty is a costly problem in so many ways for society – much more expensive than actually providing people with the supports they need.