Food bank use continues to rise in N.B.

Saskatoon Food Bank looking at alternatives for getting hampers to people who use transit to access the food bank.
Vytai Brannan / Global News

MONCTON, N.B. – Moncton residents who depend on food banks say it’s not surprising to hear that food bank use is on the rise across Canada.

Marianne Babin says local food banks have helped her and her husband get by on a tight budget.

“I have recently used a food bank and I was looking into doing it again,” she said, noting many other people she knows are using them too.

Babin is one of over 840,000 people who used food banks across the country on a monthly basis in 2013.

Food Banks Canada says the numbers have increased by 25 per cent since 2008.  In New Brunswick, the Common Front for Social Justice says the numbers are also on the rise.

Their latest statistics show that 19,590 people used food banks in the province in March. That’s up by about 4,000 people since 2008.

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Babin works at Harvest House, but the homeless shelter can’t afford to pay her a weekly salary. She gets a $100 stipend.

Although the job doesn’t pay much, she enjoys her work.

“I love being able to help and be able to provide for those that are in need,” she said.

But Babin also needs help at times. Her husband can’t work and they are getting by on social assistance. She says food banks have helped make up for the money they don’t have.

“It just isn’t enough to cover our rent and bills and food,” she said.

Food Banks Canada says a lack of good paying jobs are among the contributing factors to the increase and staff at the Second Mile Food Bank say that’s a story they hear all the time.

Donald Ayer says demand has been rising for months.

“We’ve seen an increase here as early as last spring or late winter and it was huge,” Ayer said. “The cost of living has certainly gone up and in the cost of living groceries are costing much much more.”

But Food Banks Canada says there could be ways to curb the growing numbers.

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The group is hoping more affordable housing and better job training programs could make a difference.