Christmas time is one of the busiest times of year for the Regina Food Bank.
Steve Compton, CEO of the food bank, said they’re right in the middle of their Christmas campaign. He said it’s an important time for them to receive financial support, especially since they’ve seen an increase in users over the last few months.
“A lot of what goes in our Christmas hampers is things you can’t easily put in the bin at the store, it’s fresh produce, it’s hams, turkeys, all kinds of good for you, fresh items so we go out and purchase that,” he explained.
The food bank sees a mix of families coming through, including many single parents. Compton said almost half of their users are under the age of 16.
“This time of year we see a small bump in the amount of seniors we’re serving. Newcomers to Canada, as they become adjusted to the community, reaching out for support,” he said.
Over the last four months, the food bank has seen 100 to 150 new families reach out for support, so their numbers are up this holiday season, not only for Christmas hampers, but for ongoing usage as well.
“We’re hoping that that will level off, in some ways maybe we’ve seen the worst of it and that number will begin to ease off but it’s pressures on income, it’s people on disability, it’s people that are working (where) it’s more month than money, we use that phrase a lot,” Compton said.
The food bank actually sits down with their users when they come in after their first visit. Compton said it’s to get a sense of the challenges that family is facing.
“(That way) when we’re communicating with the public we know the factors that people are facing and we’re also able to direct them back to other supports in the community and areas that we can’t help,” he said.
Right now the food bank is running a campaign, asking the public for financial support, because whatever the food bank collects, PotashCorp will match those donations, up to $5,000.
“After the Christmas season is a quiet time for our resource development and food collection, those kinds of things, so what we find is that what we get during the holiday season has to last us those first few months of winter,” Compton said.
—With files from 980 CJME’s Jessika Guse