‘Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation’
Prince George, B.C. – Donations are down at the Prince George Salvation Army.
Business manager Bill Glasgow says it’s pretty much par for the course this time of year.
“Typically, yeah. People go on vacation, summer’s here so they’re at the lake. Unfortunately, hunger doesn’t take a vacation. We still have the same faces coming to the food bank day after day, week after week.”
He says it’s difficult to say how steep the decline has been, but says it’s easy to see the effects in their warehouse.
“The shelves are a little barer and we’re not able to provide the same services, the same quality of food to people.”
Glasgow says it’s forced the organization to look for other ways to improve their services – for instance about six months ago they launched a Zero Food Waste program.
“Whereby we’re getting not expired meat, dairy and produce that we keep in a refrigerated unit.”
He says they formed a partnership with Walmart about six months ago and says they’re working on getting other grocery stores in town involved.
Glasgow says it’s already made a big difference.
“It’s been great. The look on people’s faces when they get a hamper with sandwich meat or some ground beef is great.”
He’s currently in the process of applying for a grant to purchase a refrigerated truck to expand the program.
In the meantime, Glasgow says people can help by donating food, cash, or their time.
“You can help in the warehouse unloading trucks, unloading boxes or in the food bank handing out hampers.”
He says the need for their services remain high and notes they help 480-500 families each month – roughly 3,500 people.
“The sad part of that is about 40-45 per cent of that is children under the age of 16. There’s a stigma where people think all users of the food bank are addicts but it’s not just those people. It’s seniors, single mothers and kids too.”