With the continued closures and restrictions, the Salvation Army has recognized a need for increased food hampers and will now be offering additional food bank appointments.
“The reason why we are doing it is just with closures continuing and people not being able to go back to work full-time, we just feel that the once a month is helping but not helping enough. We are seeing people come in during the month seeking an emergency food pack and things like that so we decided because our children’s program is twice a month, for the summer we are going to do food hampers twice a month,” said Kelly Spurway of the Salvation Army Houston BC.
If someone makes an appointment in the first week of June, they will be eligible to make a second appointment within the same month, in the third week of June. So the two appointments can be booked with a week’s gap in between.
“We are just trying to help stretch incomes of our families and just make sure that with food insecurity while we are not going to solve it, we will continue doing our best to help,” she said.
Appointments can be booked back to back according to the group’s Facebook post starting June 1 by visiting the Thrift Store or by calling the Salvation Army on 250-845-3494 or 250-877-1071. People can also leave a message for an appointment on the group’s Facebook page.
“We are going to do it for the entire summer and then we will reevaluate it for September,” she said.
Right now the salvation army is doing food hampers for 34 elementary school families twice a month with their children’s feeding program and they see about 48-55 families a month on top of that just through the food bank.
Financially, she said they are doing alright for now, especially with Buy-Low food’s commitment to a new Second Harvest program.
“Any vegetables, foods, dairy, bread coming to date, they freeze it all, and then we are able to give it out to our clients and so that’s really helping with our spending and they are really pitching in,” she said.
Instead of going to farmers the food gets a second chance by going to the food bank and then whatever is left, goes to the livestock farmers.
“We try very hard not to throw anything in our dumpster,” she said.
Since COVID, the food bank has seen a 38 per cent increase in usage with a lot of families, elders and even single people using the food bank.
“Let’s face it, rent, gas, hydro has all gone up and food prices are soaring. So people who normally wouldn’t have had to use the food bank, have started using the food bank just to help stretch their grocery dollar. And some of them just use it for a month or two because they just need that small assistance for a bit to get through,” she said.
On top of this, the Salvation Army has a community support unit which Spurway drives every week. During winter she even carried around hot chocolate, cup noodles, snacks and now she is ensuring she carries hydration and snacks in the truck.
“We are so grateful for the community support during these crazy times. We are all trying to just help out our friends in these tough times as much as we can,” she said.