Brad Longstreet

Brad Longstreet

Greater Trail Food banks hoping holiday giving extends into 2013

Tis the season of giving, and Christmas is the most popular time of year for citizens to help local food banks stock up their shelves.

Tis the season of giving, and Christmas is the most popular time of year for citizens to help local food banks stock up their shelves.

But even with seasonal support of community food drives, the food banks in Trail are worried about how it will keep the shelves stocked with plenty, once the holidays are over.

Linda Radtke, from the Salvation Army food bank, said that non-perishable food item donations are down this year, compared to seasons past.

“I’m concerned about the new year, worried that we may run out by February or March,” she said.

Conversations about keeping up with demand and the ever-increasing cost of groceries, echoed in the halls of Trail’s United Church on Tuesday.

“We are thankful that the community has really stepped up to the plate this Christmas,” said Marylynn Rakuson, volunteer with the church’s food bank.

“But when you’re living on a fixed income, and the price of everything goes up in the new year, less people can make ends meet,” she added.

Rakuson said that the church spends $1500 to $2000 monthly in the community, buying food to stock its pantry.

“People need food 365 days a year, so it will get a little touchy next year, as to where the money is going to come from,” she added.

The Salvation Army food bank reported that it issued its once-a-month food hampers to 560 needy families in November.

This Christmas, 300 local families in need received an additional hamper to help them through the holidays.

Radtke said that the number will likely increase, as families continue to come in to request hampers, even after the application deadline.

“We never turn anyone away,” she added.

Back in the busy kitchen of the United Church, volunteers chatter as they measure and separate food items such as sugar and pasta, for their weekly food bank.

Usually 80 people enter, but food for 120 people is what is taken away, said Rakuson.

“If someone comes in and says they need food for two people, then that is what they walk away with,” explained Rakuson.

“The United Church just feeds people, no questions asked.”