Surrey Food Bank reports sharp increase in need, decrease in supply

·2 min read
The Surrey Food Bank is reporting a spike in demand while donations plummet 30 per cent, meaning clients are getting slimmer bags each visit, according to a spokesperson. (Rafferty Baker/CBC - image credit)
The Surrey Food Bank is reporting a spike in demand while donations plummet 30 per cent, meaning clients are getting slimmer bags each visit, according to a spokesperson. (Rafferty Baker/CBC - image credit)

The Surrey Food Bank says there's a "grave" need for donations as contributions have fallen and demand has sharply increased amid rising inflation and other issues, both local and global.

According to spokesperson Pallavi Raghuvanshi, clients are now receiving less in their bag each visit, and the supply in the organization's warehouse is in steady decline.

Raghuvanshi said, for example, clients used to get six or seven cans of fruit and vegetables along with other items, but that's been cut nearly in half to ensure there's enough to stretch throughout the whole week.

"It's not very good at the moment," she said. "The inflation hasn't been kind to anybody."

The Surrey Food Bank, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., serves between 120 and 150 families each day, according to Raghuvanshi.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

She said compared to this time last year, donations have fallen 30 per cent and the number of clients is up 21 per cent.

"So those shortfalls are becoming very stark," said Raghuvanshi.

The Surrey Food Bank is the second largest in the region after the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. It mainly serves people in Surrey and North Delta from its Newton location.

Raghuvanshi said the troubling trend she's seeing at her organization is happening at food banks all over the province.

She said along with rising inflation, supply chain challenges are part of the explanation. She says the number of newcomers to Surrey and unemployment appear to be factors as well.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

"We are seeing groups that we would have not traditionally served in the past," she said, adding that more small business owners seem to be relying on the service lately, and the clientele is very diverse.

Raghuvanshi said she's optimistic the community will step up to help fill the growing gap, as it has in the past.

"When you go to the grocery store next, ask to add $2 to your bill, buy an extra bag of food hamper and just put it into the bin of your local food bank," she said. "Any help helps."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting