British Columbia

Difficult year puts Greater Vancouver Food Bank in for a tough start to 2017

The Thanksgiving-to-New Year's period, when 70 per cent of donations are made, didn't help the Greater Vancouver Food Bank make up a major shortfall of food.

Food bank says its down 200,000 pounds of food from same time last year

The food items that the GVFB needs most are canned proteins like tuna and peanut butter. (Greater Vancouver Food Bank)

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank had a tough 2016, and 2017 is already getting off on the wrong foot.

Spokeswoman Ariela Friedmann says at the conclusion of the Thanksgiving-to-New Year's period, the food bank's supplies are down 200,000 pounds from the same time last year, and cash reserves are 20 per cent below target.

That window is significant, she says, because the food bank receives about 70 percent of its yearly food and cash donations during that time.

"We wish the food and dollars donated to us were higher at this point in the year," Friedmann said.

"We're spending far more dollars than budgeted, but that's because we want to make sure we have food distributed to people. So it's definitely impacted [us] from that end."

Ariela Friedmann says a summer donation shortage meant the Greater Vancouver Food Bank had to spend about $241,000 on canned food in September. (Greater Vancouver Food Bank)

In September 2016, The GVFB was already raising alarms about low food reserves.

A slow summer for donations had Friedmann saying food stocks were at an all-time low. At the time, she predicted the food bank would have to spend $150,000 on canned food to feed their clients.

In the end, Friedmann said that number wound up being closer to $241,000 — almost four times the usual $66,000.

Friedmann says the GVFB is still only about halfway through its fiscal year. She's hoping people will consider donating to the food bank.

"Cash is king, because we can triple the value, at least, of the amount of money someone donates to us," she said.

She says the best food donations are high-protein foods like canned fish and peanut butter.