Maritime food banks and soup kitchens see spike in demand
With the holidays fast approaching, some alarming new numbers suggest that it’s going to be a tough time financially for many people.
Feed Nova Scotia has become a seven-day-a-week operation to keep up with demand, as they expect a 20 per cent increase in requests for Christmas support.
“We’re projecting about 8,300 requests for Christmas support, and that comes through the department of community services and a few of the member agencies that we support,” says Nick Jennery with Feed Nova Scotia.
The Feed Nova Scotia projections are no surprise for Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission.
“Even though we’re not a food bank at Soul’s Harbour, we have seen an increase of at least 30 per cent of people over the last few months of people we’re serving an individual meal to each day,” says Michelle Porter, director of Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission.
The spike in need is not limited to Nova Scotia. Food banks in Prince Edward Island expect a seven per cent increase for this year, while Harvey House in Moncton expects to serve 60,0000 meals by the end of 2016, 6,000 more than last year.
“There’s a lot of hardship you know, I go for walks, and you see people just picking butts off the street, bummin’ money, do you have a quarter?” says Edward McNamara, a regular at Halifax’s Soul Harbour Rescue Mission.
So far, no single cause for the increases is being singled out.
“There are people who don’t have jobs, people who are economically challenged, people who are on pensions that aren’t indexed,” says Jennery.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.