Rising food prices force changes at food bank; Kindness Meters a huge help
Rising food prices are taking their toll here in town, as the Community Harvest Food Bank has been forced to remove the usual offering of ground beef in hampers, changing the protein to eggs, instead.
Food bank coordinator Deb McIntosh said that, with as many as 200 files (each file containing anywhere from a single person to an entire, large family), economizing is critical.
“We can provide eggs at a lower cost – we have to get the best bang for our buck,” she said. “Some of our clients are disappointed, but most are fine with the eggs.”
She said the decision was pragmatic, not punitive, and that the hampers are not intended to be a long-term diet for recipients.
“Ït’s an emergency thing – they’re not meant to be ongoing,”she said, explaining the hampers contain enough food for anywhere between three and six days, depending on how it’s managed.
She said rising food prices are not just adding to the food bank’s costs, they are also driving more people to their door.
“We’re spending about $5,000 a month already (over and above food donations,”she said, adding she regularly discusses the pantry choices with her clients to be sure they’re spending money in the most productive ways.
Clients have to fill out an application that includes proof of income, rent receipt, etc., and McIntosh said the rule of thumb (although it’s not written in stone) is one hamper per file, per month – the little boost that is, for many families, the difference between making ends meet … or not.
As for the eggs-as-protein substitution goes, she said it’s what currently makes sense.
“Of course, if prices go down, we’ll look at it again.”
There is good news, though – the Kindness Meters McIntosh spearheaded are really paying off – on Jan. 10, they brought in $137.60 and on Jan. 19, the brought in another $175.
You can even find out where the meters are going to be on any given day with the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Castlegar-BC-Kindness-Meters-1671361366439709/?fref=ts