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Increase in clients and fewer donations causes worry for the Charlottetown Food Bank

By Abigail Cox

October 28, 2021

Mike MacDonald, Director of the Charlottetown food bank stands in front of some donations from the recent food drive. He is worried that donations are down. Photo by Abigail Cox.

The Charlottetown Food Bank is continuing to see an increase in the number of people using its services over the last year.

Mike MacDonald, Executive Director of the Charlottetown Food Bank says there has been a continuous increase since the pandemic began.

“When we compare our numbers in September 2021 to our numbers in September 2020, we are looking at a 9 to 10 per cent increase.”

Recently, he has also started to see a decrease in food donations, and it is concerning, said MacDonald.

He believes the rising prices of gas, food and housing is likely to blame.

“I think the inflation in general is starting to catch up to people.”

“It’s certainly affecting our clients, but our donors as well because there is just less money and disposable income for people to donate lately. It is affecting us on both sides.”

Last week, the Y’s men held its annual food drive was held, and the group noticed a big difference in donations compared to last year.

“We are down about 10 pallets of food this year, in comparison to last year.”

Which is approximately 10 per cent less donations.

There has also been a trend of seeing younger faces using the food bank, said MacDonald.

“We are seeing more and more younger people coming in and students from away that are living on their own.”

UPEI campus minister, Sister Susan Kidd, runs the UPEI on-campus food bank and has also seen an increase of students using the food bank, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic. Numbers then dropped off over the summer.

“Now in since September and October of 2021, we’ve increased back to where we were a year ago.”

Sister Susan Kidd continues to see new faces every day.

The organization is funded solely from financial donations, and they have been using the remainder of last year’s financial contributions to purchase food for the students this year.

“Right now, we're doing okay for money, however, by January or February 2022, it might be a different story.”

A UPEI student, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently moved back home to Montague to live with her parents, because she couldn’t afford both rent and food.

“I wouldn’t buy fruit or produce because it was way too expensive. Sometimes my mom would drop me off some if it went on sale.”

Meanwhile, Mike MacDonald from the Charlottetown food bank wants to get the word out to stimulate donations and help those in need, heading into the winter.

“It is more important to use to make sure people who need our help know we're here and know how to use our services. We want to make sure these individuals get the help they need.”


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