Food bank usage doubles in Kindersley, Sask. alongside economic downturn

Denise Webster and her small team of volunteers at the Kindersley Food Bank are overwhelmed at how many people are relying on their services this year.

800 people used the food bank as local economy struggles

The Kindersley Food Bank has seen the number of people using its services double in the past year. (Food Banks Canada)

Denise Webster and her small team of volunteers at the Kindersley, Sask. Food Bank are overwhelmed at how many people are relying on their services this year.

Webster says usage of the food bank has doubled in the past year.

"We're interpreting that as a straight reflection of our local economy, which is very much dependent upon the oil and gas in the area," Webster said.

The drastic fall of oil and gas prices has meant job losses for people in the community. Webster sees the trickle down effect when oil patch workers are laid off.

Kindersley's local economy has fallen on hard times due to falling oil and gas prices. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

"When the economic downturn happens and the oil and gas industry start to leave the area, the motels aren't full any more. The restaurants aren't as busy. Industry is very important to any community, especially a smaller community such as ours."

That means more and more people are coming into the Kindersley Food Bank for the first time. This year, the food bank spent $30,000 on items such as milk, meat and fresh vegetables.

That was enough to prepare food hampers for 800 individuals this year. That's nearly 20 per cent of the community of 5,000.

"You have to remember that a lot people who require food assistance are not people that were working for 80 or 100,000 dollars a year," Websters notes, "These were people that were working for $15, $16 an hour and barely making enough to meet their monthly expenses."

Preparing for 2016

For the month of December, Kindersley's Canadian Mental Health Association provides Christmas hampers for those in need. 

Webster is hopeful things will turn around in Kindersley and says community support for the food bank is fantastic. But she admits 2016 could be another busy year.

"I always hope that things will improve, but if you read any of the material that takes a look at the economic forecast, I think we're going to have another difficult year at the Kindersley Food Bank."


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