Cost of living increases hurting Montreal citizens, charities

Click to play video: 'Montreal food banks, families feeling effects of rising inflation rates'
Montreal food banks, families feeling effects of rising inflation rates
WATCH: Canada's inflation rates increased in February, reaching a 30-year high. It's a similar story in Quebec where price hikes are forcing belt-tightening measures for millions. – Mar 18, 2022

Gage Russell has a new job as a kitchen worker at The Depot Community Food Centre in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Que. It’s his first time being employed in two years.

“I love the work,” he told Global News.

Russell says he loves the new financial freedom his employment gives him but he stresses about the rising cost of living to make ends meet.

“I start to panic when I think about it because the gap is getting bigger and bigger,” Russell said. And he’s not alone.

Read more: Most Canadians are cutting back their food spending as inflation soars: poll

From a litre of milk to a luxury sedan, almost every consumer item has gone up in price according to the most recent figures from Statistics Canada.

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The consumer price index increased 5.7 per cent in February of this year compared to the same month in 2021. That is the highest year-over-year increase since 1991.

Leading the increase was the price of gasoline, up 32.3 per cent.

Click to play video: 'Gas prices soar to record highs across Quebec and are expected to climb higher'
Gas prices soar to record highs across Quebec and are expected to climb higher

Many of life’s necessities also saw major increases, including groceries which jumped 7.4 per cent and household appliances which spiked by 7.8 per cent.

READ MORE: Inflation hit 5.7% in February. Economists say it hasn’t peaked

The cost of living increases aren’t just forcing consumers to tighten their belts, the price hikes are having a deep impact on charities too.

Costs are projected to increase at The Depot Community Food Centre in NDG, a food bank that helps families in need.

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“Chances are we’re going to run a deficit this year in order to meet the demand,” Executive Director Tasha Lackman told Global News.

It’s a similar situation at On Rock Community Services in Pierrefonds.

The West Island food bank says food supplies are running low – individual donations have dropped but demands are on the rise. New families are being added to their list on a weekly basis, they say.

“They’re coming in because they’re in need of food. They can’t afford food through their own resources,” Jody Henderson of On Rock said.

As for Russell, he just hopes inflation pressures will start to ebb in the coming weeks so that more money can go into his pocketbook.

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