Hope Food Bank is struggling to meet demand

Shelves are being depleted due to an increase in the number of people fed and the rise in the cost of food

The Hope Food Bank could be facing a crisis later this year if donations don’t meet the growing demand in the community.

Last year, the food bank served 2,593 people. During the first four months of 2014, the food bank had 1,027 clients. Maclynne Bourquin, executive director of Hope Community Services, said at this rate, they’ll feed 4,108 people this year.

“This was a dramatic jump for us. We’re talking about practically doubling the number of food hampers we’re giving out,” said Bourquin. “We’re seeing more people each month and people are accessing it more often. It’s really concerning.”

The increase in the number of people fed and the rise in the cost of food has depleted most food banks around the province, including the one in Hope. Bourquin said the food bank is being accessed not only by seniors, but by individuals and families with kids.

“The people who are in need seem to be more in need than they have in the past,” she added. “We’ve been trying to increase the quality of the food that’s going out. The idea is to feed people, but people can’t improve their lives if the food they’re eating is not (nutritious).”

Community support has been key to the food bank’s survival and Bourquin says more will be needed this year to meet the increased demand. The food bank is specifically looking for meals in a can, canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned fish, canned soup, spaghetti sauce, and pasta noodles. Anyone who wants to donate fresh fruit, vegetables, or eggs can drop them off at the food bank on Wednesdays.

There are several other ways to support the local food bank in Hope. Donations can be dropped off in person at Hope Community Services (434 Wallace St.) A tax receipt is given for cash donations and to anyone that submits a till tape for their food donations. Donations can also be dropped off at Envision Financial through The Full Cupboard Program and the Hope Eagles host a monthly $5 dinner with a donation to the food bank.

In addition, a new program at Cooper’s Foods allows the local food bank to benefit from returned pop cans. The grocery store also has a $5 food sharing coupon at each cash register. Hope Buy & Save Foods has donation tins at each cash register as well.