Calgary Food Bank demand on the rise

Demand at the Calgary Food Bank is up 10 per cent over last year, continuing a multi-year trend.

Agency handing out 200 more hampers per month compared to June

Ibtisam Ismail, who came to Canada from Sudan 13 years ago, often has to resort to the food bank to feed her children. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

Demand at the Calgary Food Bank is up 10 per cent over last year, continuing a multi-year trend.

A new national report by Food Bank Canada shows Alberta agencies are feeding 48 per cent more people than they were in 2008, and more than 40 per cent of them are children.

But those numbers were calculated in March and the need has grown since then, said Calgary Food Bank spokeswoman Shawna Ogston.

The Calgary Food Bank links an uptick in online donations from B.C. to the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)

Ogston says the food bank is giving out 200 more hampers per month than it was in June.

"It is a shocking number and I think that it is indicative of the disparity between incomes and expenses here in Alberta,” she said.

Ogston says 38 per cent of the bank's clients are working.

Even with subsidized housing, making ends meet is a struggle for single mother Tiana Thorpe, who made her third trip to the food bank this week.

"It's really hard. I usually am going paycheque to paycheque," said Thorpe, who has a nine-month-old son. 

"I always make sure he has everything he needs. So if I go a night without dinner, well I go a night without dinner so he can eat over me eating."

Ibtisam Ismail, who came to Canada from Sudan 13 years ago, frequently has to resort to the food bank to feed her seven children.

“When we came everything is cheap, even food. But now everything is going higher,” she said.

“You know so when you see your budget is not enough for food because you have to pay your rent and you have your bills, so sometimes there is nothing left for food.”

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.