Support your local food bank
On Friday, December 1, CBC BC is hosting Food Bank Day. As a dietitian, this has me thinking about food charity and what it means for our communities. If you’re donating non-perishable food items this year, Loraina’s helpful blog on healthy food hampers reminds us to consider healthy food options.
In speaking with various food bank employees, I have come to notice a theme: Donating money to your local food bank is the most effective way to be sure that nutritious foods are available for families. Here's why:
- Both perishable and non-perishable items can be purchased by staff, which helps to ensure that food bank users have consistent access to a variety of nutritious foods.
- Food bank staff know exactly which foods are in need.
- Food banks are costly to run, so monetary donations also help with operational costs (e.g. building costs such as rent, hydro and heat).
- They purchase in bulk and can buy 3-4x more food with each dollar.
"Monetary donations help us to buy foods when needed, so that we can have a consistent supply of food throughout the year. Purchasing food ourselves allows us to provide both perishable items (such as eggs, meat and cheese) and non-perishables. That said, we can use, and are happy to receive, any form of donation, whether it be food, money or physical (volunteering).” - (Salvation Army staff member)
How can you help your local food bank?
- Food Bank BC has an online donation system:
- Donations above $20 are eligible for a tax receipt.
- They help food banks across BC, including those in rural and Northern communities.
- If you know your local food bank, you can drop by with a monetary donation.
- You can visit Food Bank BC to find a food bank near you.
Why are food banks in need?
Northern BC has the highest cost of food in the province, as well as the highest rates of food insecurity:
"Food insecurity exists when an individual or family lacks the financial means to obtain food that is safe, nutritious, and personally acceptable, via socially acceptable means.” - (Provincial Health Services Authority, 2016)
Statistics on food insecurity
- In Northern BC approximately 17% of households (1 in 6) experience some level of food insecurity.
- Those most deeply affected are single parent households with children, those on social assistance, and many people in the work force.
How can food banks help?
In Canada, household food insecurity is primarily due to a lack of adequate income to buy food. While food banks are not a solution to household food insecurity, they can help provide short term, immediate access to nutritious food.
This holiday season, if you are thinking about donating to the food bank, consider a monetary donation. This will help support food bank staff in purchasing high quality, nutritious foods to lend immediate support to families during the holidays, and beyond.
On Friday, December 1, tune in to CBC Food Bank Day and listen to live programs and guest performers, and learn about the issue of food insecurity in our province.