Community

Food Bank hungers for more

Barry Gifford and Ingrid Johnston from the Sooke Food Bank. - Pirjo Raits
Barry Gifford and Ingrid Johnston from the Sooke Food Bank.
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

People are hungry all the time, not just at Christmas.

“After Christmas the donations drop off... but we’re still here,” said Sooke Food Bank president Ingrid Johnston.

The Sooke Food Bank is experiencing a large increase in the number of folks looking for a little help to fill their cupboards with food.

In January there were 162 hampers of food given to the needy and in February there was 258. That’s close to a 60 per cent increase.

“I don’t remember in my time there being over 200,” says Barry Gifford ex-president of the Sooke Food Bank. “March is going to be worse.”

Which brings the need into clear view. The food bank is running low on food and help is needed.

With Sooke experiencing a “building boom” and people in the trades looking for work here, the need is bigger. Without work they are looking for assistance and help. All of the agencies in Sooke are experiencing greater numbers of clients. The Crisis Centre numbers are up as welll as the food bank’s.

“They are taking a beating. It’s cheaper to buy a house here but not to live here,” said Gifford.

Food banks came about in the 1980s and have since gone on to become a necessity for those on low incomes. Gifford said food banks now have third generation people coming in, that’s how great the need is. Food banks receive no government funding and are volunteer run. The monetary assistance provided by the government for the needy is rarely adequate for the month.

Eligible folks get one hamper a month and those with kids get one litre of milk per child.

Non-perishable food items most needed are cereal, peanut butter, canned tuna, fruits, vegetables and especially protein. Also needed, for those who are sick, are food supplements such as Ensure and Boost.

“People in Sooke are very generous,” said Johnston.

Each of the grocery stores in Sooke have boxes where donations can be left, or donators can call 250-642-7666 and leave a message.

The Sooke Food Bank Society held their Annual General Meeting on Feb. 1and the following positions were filled:

Ingrid Johnston - President

Carol Harding - Vice-President

Amber Lomax - Secretary

Gaye Downer - Treasurer.

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