Central Okanagan Food Bank annual Christmas hamper initiative in full swing

Food bank demand soaring

Madison Reeve

With inflation squeezing families, the Central Okanagan Food Bank says it continues to break records in demand.

On Dec. 1, COFB will be distributing 4,000 Christmas hampers.

"For the first time ever, we had a 91-year-old lady come in and register for our services on Friday because she reached a breaking point with her finances," said Trina Speiser, COFB's director of development.

"She just couldn't manage it anymore. That is heartbreaking. That is what we are witnessing due to all the financial pressures."

Speiser says the food bank's hamper usage has increased by 32 percent since the beginning of 2023.

Community members and volunteers have been assembling the 4,000 Christmas hampers offsite. These hampers are expected to feed a total of 8,500 individuals.

"We also live in an area where most renters are paying higher than the median average housing costs for rentals. Less than seven per cent of our clients own their own homes, so 93 percent are renters. When inflationary pressures rise, so does the need," she said.

The COFB anticipates having to spend $1.5 million on food in the next 12 months.

"Inflation is impacting us too. The grocery store costs are increasing, as well as everything else—gas, housing costs—everything is rising, causing more demand at our doorstep," Speiser added.

Despite the high costs, the food bank says they won't compromise on the items inside the Christmas hampers. This year, the hampers will include everything needed to enjoy a traditional holiday meal along with pancake mix, fruit, cookies, and more.

For more information on the food bank and to donate, click here.

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