Visitors to the Whitehorse Food Bank are heading home with lighter baskets.
The local organization is struggling to meet demand as donations have waned in the last few months.
In July, the food bank began handing out flyers, reading: “Regretfully the Whitehorse food bank is facing a shortage of food and money. This means that many of our food hampers are not complete with the food we normally give out. If an item is missing from your available hamper then it is not available.”
Stephen Dunbar-Edge, the executive director, said the food bank is “in a bit better shape” this month and hopes to be fully stocked again in August.
In the meantime, the Calgary Food Bank was able to ease the burden by donating some of their supplies. The local food bank has also reached out to the Edmonton Food Bank.
The core items that are missing this month include canned vegetables, peanut butter, canned fruit and pasta sauce.
“This happens almost every year,” said Dunbar-Edge. “The money doesn’t come in as much in the summer and neither does the food. Last year it was August that we experienced this. It’s not new, it’s just a shame it’s happened at all.”
The food bank society is currently approaching local businesses and will be pushing to get more people to donate a recurring monthly allotment.
“That’s money I can count on and budget around,” said Dunbar-Edge. “So much of what people donate often are one-time donations, which doesn’t tell me what I can spend in a month.”
Dunbar-Edge said he’s hopeful that businesses will respond positively.
“There’s a few corporations that gave us money around this time last year and we’re in contact with them right now. I expect money will come in.”
Fresh local produce is also starting to make its way into the food bank, including donations of bok choy, kale, and lettuce.
The biggest factor, though, is getting more money into the monthly budget.
“Even if it’s only $10 a month, it makes a big difference.”
This past April, the food bank received a $750,000 grant from the Yukon government to assist with the purchase of its current location at 306 Alexander St.
The Association Franco-Yukonnaise previously owned the building and lot and carried the balance of the mortgage, while the food bank made monthly payments.
Demand at the food bank has quadrupled since it opened its doors in 2009, according to Whitehorse Food Bank president Stu Mackay.
The organization supplies emergency food hampers to more than 1,300 individuals on a monthly basis.
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