SASKATOON – The Saskatoon Food Bank is considering cutting back service, due to a record number of people coming through its doors.
“We’re seeing more than 20,000 people each month,” said the bank’s executive director, Laurie O’Connor.
Last year, the bank was seeing around 16,000 people a month. O’Connor says an additional 4,000 people a month is putting a major strain on resources.
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As of now, the service provides hampers to people twice a month. Soon, those in need may only be allowed to come in once a month.
“The problem is not that people aren’t donating. People are actually supporting us the same way they were last year if not more. The problem is we’re seeing so many more people through the door,” she said.
She adds more people being out of work, high rent and a surge in food prices could all be factors.
“What we’re hearing is people aren’t being able to buy nutritious food. They’re having a hard time with the price of meat and fruits and vegetables going up,” she said.
The food bank is doing everything it can to prevent cut backs. O’Connor says for now, it will wait until June to get a better look at the numbers. It will also consider other options like buying groceries in bulk.
Vivek Patawari, co-owner of The Karma – Conscious Cafe and Eatery, says he relied on the bank for more than a week when he first moved to Saskatoon.
“It always stayed in my heart that I owe back to the food bank,” he said.
Patawari says it’s upsetting to see more people without nutritious food and will be donating three per cent of his cafe’s revenue to the food bank.
“We can make this happen together. Let’s be a little more conscious. And just share a piece from your pie,” he said.