The London Food Bank says the number of families it serves each month is climbing back up to pre-pandemic levels and approaching a new record, a growing demand it says is due in part to rising costs across Canada.
The news comes after an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found that a growing number of Canadians are concerned they might not have enough money to feed their families due to surging inflation.
Co-executive director Glen Pearson says the food bank is in the process of collecting more in-depth data, but says the organization is now serving about 3,600 families per month.
“Another 100 families a month and that will be an all-time record for us as a food bank. In all of our 35 years, we’ve never been at this level,” Pearson told Global News.
“At the same time, we’re helping way more agencies than we were doing even before the pandemic, that’s doubled, so the demand on us is pretty strong and we are hearing from the other agencies too that they are suffering.”
Pearson says increased demand has been paired with increased difficulty for those trying to give back, something he considers a ripple effect from the price of food going up.
“The donations have been coming in great and we appreciate it, but we’re hearing lots from people who are telling us that it’s getting harder and harder to do so because they’re just trying to feed their own families,” Pearson said.
Pearson adds that he doesn’t see an end in sight for rising inflation, but considers investing in affordable housing a viable solution if all governments put in the time and effort.
“The key to it all is people have to figure it out if they’re going to feed the kids or pay the rent…. Please, all levels of government, put your emphasis on housing.”
The food bank has yet to announce details for this year’s Spring Food Drive, an annual community-wide initiative that typically takes place in March and April.
It will mark the food drive’s first time in two years that Londoners will be allowed to donate in person, an option that was removed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re not as worried about (the Spring Food Drive) because as soon as Londoners hear … they’ll just give, they always do,” Pearson added.