Linda Radtke (left) and Linda Sullivan from the Trail Salvation Army food bank

Linda Radtke (left) and Linda Sullivan from the Trail Salvation Army food bank

Trail food bank usage follows national trend

The most recent Hunger Count Canada, shows that in five years, food bank usage rose by 20 per cent in BC.

Anyone watching the news probably remembers seeing many stories about the increasing use of food banks across Canada.

The most recent Hunger Count Canada (2013 statistics) released on Monday, shows that in five years, food bank usage rose by 20 per cent in the province.

That translates into 94,000 British Columbians a year, needing a hand up to make ends meet.

Trail is part of the trend.

All the local food banks report that their services grow year-to year with more people seeking help to feed themselves or their families with weekly rations or monthly hampers.

The Trail Salvation Army Family Services reports a 17 per cent increase in food bank usage since this same time last year. In October alone, the Rossland Avenue site has supplied mostly young families and single men with 585 food hampers.

The organization’s soup kitchen served up 1,410 meals throughout the month and on top of that, launched a new program that focuses on school aged children called the Lunch Program.

Every two weeks a parent can pick up an additional box of sustenance that contains granola bars, fruit, juice boxes, bread and lunch meat so his or her child has a daily lunch at school.

“It’s hard for people to come in and ask for help,” says Linda Radtke, from the Trail branch. “That’s why we always say we are not giving a hand out, we are giving a hand up.”

An underlying problem, according to Hunger Count, is that although the country is in a time of apparent economic recovery, the root of the problem is low income – both short and long term.

This includes the Greater Trail area after a local gender-based study by Women Creating Change, showed that one-third of the local female labour force works in lower-wage occupations.

The report highlighted the fact that in a two-parent-two-child family, each parent must work 35 hours a week, and earn $18.15 per hour for a net income of $60,000 to live in Greater Trail – and that’s nothing extravagant, just basics like healthcare, transportation and child care.

Additionally, the report revealed than the share of single parent Income Assistance caseloads in the Lower Columbia was 29 per cent, which is higher than the B.C. average of 25 per cent in Sept. 2011.

Dorothy, (who only gave her first name due to the food bank’s privacy guidelines) a long time volunteer at the Beaver Valley United Church food bank, says the need for the Fruitvale-based service fluctuates, as do the people accessing it. Young couples and young families to seniors or those on disability have accessed the church’s food hamper program, which is held every Thursday.

She maintains that the growing use of food banks isn’t about numbers– rather it’s a human interest story.

“People are almost apologetic for having to come to the food bank,” she said. “They are all very appreciative, “Dorothy explained. “But there are very different reasons for needing help. Our idea is not to furnish them with all the food they need, it’s to be a stop gap to help them through a period when everything seems to run out, or until their next cheque.”

Within rural B.C., the Hunger Count report identifies women as the largest demographic sector accessing food banks, and the household type is mostly single people followed by single families.

In Radtke’s experience as services manager at the Trail Salvation Army branch, those percentages are reflective of Trail, because she notes most clients are single men, followed by young families.

“Even when it’s a couple or family that needs the hamper, the male almost always comes in to pick it up,” she added. “For quite awhile now, most of our hampers are going to single men, not women.”

To donate to the Beaver Valley Food Bank, contact Dorothy at (250) 367-9965.

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read