Local food bank Moisson Montreal, once a free service, has announced it will start charging a monthly fee to the organizations it serves.
“The hunger situation in Montreal does not seem to alleviate,” said the organization’s executive director Richard D. Daneau.
“Last month, for example, there were 146,000 people that went to a community organization to get foodstuffs freely because they just don’t have the money to buy foodstuff.”
Since 1984, Moisson Montreal has been collecting food products to redistribute to community organizations around the city.
“It’s definitely an additional charge we’ll have to absorb,” said Bonnie Soutar of the NDG Food Depot.
“No one is ever happy about paying more for anything.”
Moisson Montreal officials said the decision to start charging wasn’t taken lightly, but it was the only way to keep up the size and quality of its services.
The exact amount charged to each organization depends on the amount of food it receives from Moisson Montreal.
“It varies between $100 per year to $5,000 per year, but on average, I can tell you we’re talking about $17 per week,” Daneau told Global News.
It may not sound like a lot, but for many shelters, the extra expense could mean cuts elsewhere.
“Five thousand dollars going to Moisson Montreal means it’s $5,000 that isn’t going into services for clients,” said Matthew Pearce, Director General of the Old Brewery Mission.
“The NDG Food Depot is pretty well funded by its community, very well funded, but small organizations may not have that funding, so we hope that no one will have to give up their ration from Moisson because of that charge,” said Soutar.
Nevertheless, Moisson Montreal is assuring the places it supplies that it will never come to that.
“We told them from the very beginning that, shall an organization face a specific problem, we’ll take the time to sit down and find solutions that will meet their capacity to pay,” said Daneau.
Organizations can expect to see the first charge for service in October.