Food bank in Kamloops cuts back on distribution of perishables | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Food bank in Kamloops cuts back on distribution of perishables

Image Credit: UNSPLASH/Joel Muniz

The Kamloops Food Bank is reducing supplies of perishable food to clients next month leaving some regular clients disheartened and afraid.

The change in resources offered through the food bank was posted on its website almost a week ago but no explanation was provided. Clients’ access to perishable foods like produce, bread, meat and dairy will be reduced from one per week to twice per calendar month starting June 1.

Dee Poole lives on a disability income and has relied on the food bank in Kamloops for several years.

“I feed myself through the food bank as I can’t afford food, I’m on government funding, after I pay my bills there isn’t much left over,” she said. “I usually take lots of veggies and fruit, and some toiletries, and use the meat when it’s not way past the due date.”

Poole fears she will have health repercussions with a reduction in supplies.

“Now this is happening, I don’t know what to do,” she said. “This is going to be very hard, I’m afraid of what will happen to me and was disheartened when I heard of the changes.”

Roughly 3,800 people access the food bank in Kamloops every year according the organization's latest annual report. It isn’t clear how quickly those numbers are increasing.

The Kamloops Food Bank did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

The number of people using the Central Okanagan Food Bank continues to climb but so far the organization has been able to keep up.  

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Communications coordinator Rayann Gruza said they've seen a substantial increase in food bank users in Kelowna and West Kelowna since the pandemic.

“There have been a number of things people across the country have had to endure with job losses, increasing interest rates and an increasing cost of living,” Gruza said. “With no reprieve, the numbers continue to grow.”

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She said the food bank hasn't had to change any of their programming yet.

"We have a robust food rescue program where we pick up perishables from retailers that provides 60 per cent of perishables,” she said.

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The 2024 Poverty Report Cards released by Food Banks Canada on May 22 show poverty is climbing across the country. 

“Canada has reached a critical turning point as poverty and food insecurity worsen in every corner of the country, but despite the scale of the crisis, most governments are not responding with the urgency that is needed,” reads the report.

The report cards show one in four Canadians are experiencing food insecurity, with the general population struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living.

“Though deeply concerning, these results are sadly unsurprising to the thousands of food banks across the country who have seen a 50 per cent increase in visits since 2021," said Food Banks Canada CEO Kirstin Beardsley in a media release. "Food Banks Canada's 2024 Poverty Report Cards clearly show that sustained, collective effort from all governments is our greatest hope for real and lasting change."

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Poole fears the reduction in supplies from the food bank in Kamloops is the tip of the iceberg for other food resources she accesses in the city.

“I try to get free meals at the Mustard Seed and The Loop, I never take more than I need,” she said.

“People should have access to food, I’m hoping this isn’t going to be the same for other food resources, but I’m afraid it will be.” 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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