Demand for services at the Community Harvest Food Bank in Castlegar has increased steadily due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Food bank co-ordinator Deb McIntosh said there have been 25 new people accessing food bank services since the beginning of April.
McIntosh said the majority of new people accessing the food bank services have recently been laid off from a job.
People experiencing homelessness are also taking up a lot of resources at the food bank, according to McIntosh.
“Dealing with the homelessness population has been the hardest part for us,” said McIntosh.
“Right now, we’re putting up one person in a shelter and three people in a hotel. Each person is costing us about $500 a week.”
McIntosh said she expects demand for services at the food bank to increase in the coming weeks.
“Numbers will be ramping up weekly now because people aren’t getting the paycheck that they expected,” said McIntosh.
“Some of the people accessing our services also used to work under the table. However, they can’t do that anymore because nobody is hiring because of social distancing and those things.”
More people are also accessing services because of recent domestic disputes in households, said McIntosh.
Despite the hardships caused by COVID-19, McIntosh said the goals of the food bank remain the same.
“Our whole thing is just to keep people housed, off the street and fed,” said McIntosh.
“At the end of the day, we just want to keep the wolf away from the door.”
Providing hot meals to people three days a week and dropping off food hampers at households once a month are just some of the services the food bank currently provides.
If people require food bank services around Castlegar, McIntosh said they can reach her via phone.