The Surrey Food Bank usually sees an increase in donations during the holidays. This year is different, as donations have decreased by 30 per cent.
“Inflation has impacted us big time,” said Vijay Naidu, Surrey Food Banks Community Partnerships Manager.
As a result, the food bank is seeing a 23-per-cent increase in clients.
There are also more clients who are refugees. Naidu said about 70 to 80 per cent of their clients are refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine.
But the food bank is also serving a lot of people who call Surrey and North Delta home. Naidu said this is likely because families in the city are having a harder time earning a living wage, especially in one-income households where they are being paid minimum wage. Even those working 40 hours a week at minimum wage are not making enough live on.
“If they can’t make ends meet, they are coming to us,” he said.
In 2022, the minimum living wage in Metro Vancouver increased to $24.08 per hour, the highest it’s been since first calculated in 2008. That’s compared to last year when the wage was $20.52 – a 17 per cent increase – and well above the province’s minimum wage of $15.65 per hour.
The food bank’s biggest need right now is for seniors and babies. For the seniors it serves, the food bank needs low-sodium and low-sugar food, as well as meal replacements like Boost. The Tiny Bundles program needs baby formula, baby cereal, diapers, food cups, juice boxes, baby clothes and toys.
Donations can be dropped off at several grocery stores throughout the city or directly at the food bank (13478 78th Ave). A list of the grocery stores accepting donations can be found on their website here.
Those in need of assistance can visit the Surrey Food Bank’s website to register.
-With files from Dillon White