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Food bank usage up in Yorkton

Local Salvation Army minister said usage was up 15 per cent in September and climbed to 18 per cent in November.
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Local Yorkton food bank usage was said to be up 18 per cent by a representative of the Salvation Army.

YORKTON — A University of Saskatchewan poll found that food bank use in the Prairies is the highest in the country.

“CHASR’s Taking the Pulse of Canada survey had 1,001 respondents across Canada who were contacted via landlines and cellphones. Nearly 78 per cent of respondents said they had used coupons or bought food items on sale, 58.6 per cent said they had decreased household food waste, and 54.5 per cent said they had planned meals to ensure they had enough money and food. As well, 30.7 per cent said they had eaten less healthy food because it’s cheaper,” read a media release from the University of Saskatchewan.

Yorkton This Week spoke with the local Salvation Army’s Ministry Leader, Roy Bladen, about the impact of food prices on the local food bank.

Bladen said food bank usage was up around 15 per cent in September, and has climbed to 18 per cent in November.  Bladen said the cost of food is to blame. “You got out and spend $100 on food and you’re lucky to fill a plastic bag.”

Bladen said the organization will make it to Christmas with what they have, “but not sure after that.”

“It’s a concern going forward,” said Bladen, adding, “the cost of living is costing people more to get the basics - then they don’t have the money to go to charities.”

Bladen said that the organization used to serve about 65 families a month, but that number has risen to 95.

Bladen said that multiplying that number by five equals the number of individuals utilizing the food bank.

“We need to raise $130,000 to be able to run our food bank program for 2023,” said Bladen.

Bladen said those who wish to participate in the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle program are urged to contact the Program Co-ordinator, Gwen, at (306) 744 - 3000.

“We can’t foresee the future - we have to remember sharing is caring.”