With the advent of the winter season and impending holidays, Regina’s Food Bank experiences a surge in demand. The phenomenon is a source of worry, admits John Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of the Regina Food Bank.
Bailey notes, “The use of the food bank is growing, not merely in terms of the number of people using it but also in the frequency of their visits compared to past years.” A dilemma is also presented in ensuring clients maintain a balanced diet, shared by Chrysta Garner, developmental coordinator at Carmichael Outreach.
As the agricultural season draws to a close, the production of food faces a decline, amplifying their existing challenges. Garner admits to the scarcity, remarking, “We definitely do not have enough.” Echoing her sentiments, Bailey highlights the importance of meeting this growing demand.
The 2023 HungerCount Report from Food Banks Canada, released recently, noted that out of the 42 food banks in Saskatchewan, there were 55,753 total visits. Alarmingly, of these total visits, 22,193 were by children. A 24.3 per cent increase in visits was seen between 2022 and 2023, and there was a staggering 49.8 per cent increase from 2019 to 2023 in Saskatchewan. The report also gave a shocking figure close to two million visits across Canadian food banks in one solitary month, reflecting an increase of 78 per cent since 2019.
Though the volunteer count and donations remained steady, a welcoming change has been the emergence of individuals eager to lend a helping hand. Anastasiia Biuk, a volunteer at the Regina Food Bank, expresses her zeal, saying, “I am always looking for an opportunity to help someone, to always help my community.”
Now, the Regina Food Bank is initiating a fundraiser in association with the Mosaic Company to provide one million meals in October, thus pushing to address the ongoing concerns and serve the community relentlessly.