Food bank demand spikes in high-cost Calgary

Rising rents and higher prices at the grocery store are forcing more people to turn to the Calgary Food Bank for help.

Charity gave out 10 per cent more hampers last month compared to previous year

Calgary Food Bank spokeswoman Shawna Ogston says demand for hampers is up this summer by about 10 per cent over last year. (CBC)

Rising rents and higher prices at the grocery store are forcing more people to turn to the Calgary Food Bank for help.

In June the food bank gave out almost 4,000 hampers — about 10 per cent more than the same month last year, said spokeswoman Shawna Ogston.

"We're finding that some of the new people that are coming to Alberta and those who specifically come to the food bank are just overwhelmed with the prices associated with living in Alberta,” she said.

“So, we're here to help them after they've dealt with their rent, et cetera."

In June, 150 new clients turned to the food bank, 130 of them having just moved to Alberta, Ogston said.

Non-profit groups that buy in bulk are feeling the pinch too.

According to Statistics Canada, prices for beef and pork have skyrocketed in the past year, up 11 to 16 per cent respectively.

And at Meals on Wheels, salmon has become pricey too, said executive director Janice Curtis.

"Sometimes what we've had to do is actually change our meal options. So, because we do provide our clients with two meals a day, sometimes we're changing out the protein in the meal, without really affecting the quality of the product that we're sending out to our clients,” she said.

"Of course we don't want to pass those increases onto our clients, because they're on a limited income, and they pay on a sliding scale."

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