Numbers up at AIDS food bank
The number of people accessing a special food bank for Islanders with HIV has risen dramatically over the past year.
The food bank is administered by AIDS PEI. A year ago, only a handful of people per month were using it. Now, up to 20 people with HIV across the Island are using it.
Angela MacKinnon, program co-ordinator for AIDS PEI, says the rising cost of heating fuel and other essentials are behind the increasing numbers.
"Most of our clients are living on a very fixed income. The majority of them are on social assistance, and there hasn't been any increases in their food allowances or whatnot for quite a few years," says MacKinnon.
"With the increases in electricity and utilities and oil and all of that stuff, people are ending up using their food and grooming allowances to pay for their rent and all those other increases."
MacKinnon says people with HIV often have special dietary restrictions to go along with the drugs they take, and their food bills can be expensive.
The bank hasn't actually given out food for more than a year now. It sends up to $40 in vouchers each month to the people who use it. The vouchers can be redeemed at Sobey's or Superstore. Because the vouchers can be mailed, MacKinnon says the food bank can be used by people across the Island.
On Thursday night, a collection for the food bank was taken at a special Christmas service for the Island's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities.