Demand up at P.E.I.'s main food bank

·2 min read
Demand up at P.E.I.'s main food bank
Demand up at P.E.I.'s main food bank

More Islanders are reaching out for help from the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry.

Demand is up nine per cent at the organization's food bank in Charlottetown, and up 21 per cent at its soup kitchen, comparing January to September numbers from this year to those from 2019, says the organization's manager Mike MacDonald.

"There's so much uncertainty. Certainly our economy has taken a hit and you know there's more and more people turning to us every day," MacDonald told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.

MacDonald said the organization has found it challenging to keep up with demand since the COVID-19 pandemic hit P.E.I. in March.

Vanessa Blanch/CBC
Vanessa Blanch/CBC

"It is a constant struggle, and we look at these numbers and we know they're just going to continue to rise, so we're really getting ourselves prepared for the winter months and what that may look like for us," he said.

The Y's Men's Food Drive earlier this week brought in 30 pallets of food, down about 10 pallets from what is gathered during a normal year, but MacDonald said the food bank is still pleased with the amount, especially since it was a drive-thru format that encouraged Islanders to come out actively to donate rather than relying on volunteers to gather donations door to door.

"With so many groups not doing extra activities, groups that we relied on to volunteer for us — and of course the health and safety of everyone involved — we thought the drive-thru was the much safer option."

The Upper Room has a rainy day fund it can dip into if times get tough, he said.

"We just want ensure that people in need know that we're here, and we'll find a way to have the food for them, between donations and purchases," MacDonald said.

"It's going to be a busy winter for us and we're getting prepared for it now."

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