The Comox Valley Food Bank is getting 4-5 new sign-ups per day. According to Executive Director David Reynolds, those sign-ups are a sign of the times.
“We’re seeing client demands up month over month. Overall cost of living, cost of housing, and cost of food is what we hear. It is definitely a sign of the times,” he told Comox Valley News.
The food bank’s main three programs—monthly household hamper pickup, drop-in service (Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. to noon) and home delivery—have seen a high increase in use.
Comox has especially high numbers at a 30 percent overall increase in food bank usage over the last year. But they’re far from the only town experiencing this.
Overall in Canada, food bank visits have increased by more than 20% since 2019.
Food Banks Canada says the reason for the rise is a ‘volatile combination’ of rising housing costs, food prices, and low incomes. According to their data, one in five Canadians report missing meals because they can’t afford food.
Kirstin Beardsley is the CEO of Food Banks Canada. “This speaks to a level of need across the country that we likely have never seen in our history,” she said in an article for CTV News.
COVID also had a large part to play in this. The level of food insecurity in BC is a stark reminder that the “new normal” slogan is appropriate for many aspects of life.
In Comox, the food bank has been heavily relying on food recycling programs from local groceries as of late. These have been great for keeping folks fed and combating food waste.
That being said, local donations are still very much needed.
Whether spare fruit from your trees, non-perishables, or cash donations, the door is always open to giving in any form.
They also need volunteers. If you’d like to help out, you can swing by 1491 McPhee Ave in Courtenay from 12–3 p.m. any weekday.