Helping the needy, is an expensive endeavour

Sooke Food Bank is struggling to keep up with demand

For the second time this year, Ingrid Johnson is staring at the potential of empty shelves at the Sooke Food Bank.

The need for food is not dissipating and the lineups at the door are stretching  longer every week. Three times a month, the Food Bank feeds 440 households. Food is given to each household only one time a month. That means there are people going hungry, people who can’t make their food last to the next pay cheque. This means kids and seniors go hungry.

“What breaks my heart is the seniors coming in,” said Johnson, president of the Sooke Food Bank.

Food Banks are supposed to be for emergency food, not a supplement to a low income but that’s not what happens. The local food bank needs a minimum of $4,700 per month to feed all who come asking for help. That’s $56,400 needed each year to feed the less fortunate.

“It’s all age ranges coming through the door,” Johnson said. “It’s supposed to be emergency rations.”

With the recent attention drawn to the food bank need after the holiday season, $11,000 was raised through generous donations. People have and continue to drop off their pennies, which helps. They bought a big load of groceries and they have since gone through that. They have no buffer, no other help. Johnson said they applied to United Way for funding but were shortlisted then rejected because they had no paid employees. Gaming funds don’t come in until August. It’s a dire situation.

Having a infusion of $40,000 would be great but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon and there are fears that the food and funds will only last another month.

Country singer B.K. Morrison will be holding a dinner/show fundraiser for the food bank at the Legion on June 1.

Donations of food or cash can be dropped off at the Sooke News Mirror office.