Facing record demand and skyrocketing costs, the Greener Village food bank is calling out for help from the Fredericton community.
“We’ve burned through the budget because of inflation,” said Alexa English, a volunteer and project coordinator at Greener Village. “We’re relying more on the public than we were anticipating to.”
Greener Village has operated as a thrift store, community garden and food bank for more than 35 years. English said her organization is helping more than 3,000 people get food every month, the most they’ve seen.
English said it costs upwards of $250 to give one family food for a month. In May, a month that saw a “staggering number” of families and individuals that needed help, Greener Village gave out around $220,000 worth of food.
“It’s because stuff is so expensive,” said English.
According to Statistics Canada, the national inflation rate sat at 7.6 per cent in July, down from 8.1 per cent in June.
English said because of rising inflation, transportation and manufacturing costs are up. She added that it was much easier before the COVID-19 pandemic to make donations go further than it is now.
English also said Greener Village needs more volunteers and collaborations with schools and businesses.
“We’re at a point where we’re sending out different appeals to donors and fundraisers to get the rest of the money we need to make it through the fall,” said English.
English said the widening financial gap between the rich and poor is creating greater pressure on the food bank, noting that it’s not just the homeless that require help.
“There’s always more pressure on non-governmental organizations and charities to do the work of gaps that need to be filled,” she said.
It also comes as Greener Village continues to pick up the pieces after a series of robberies in late September that left the organization without catalytic converters on their delivery trucks.
English believes the thieves stole the converters to sell them for cash.
“We don’t blame them for trying to survive,” she said.
With the weather getting colder, English said Greener Village will continue to act as a crutch for those in need.
“We’re always going to be there for them, and I think that is the most important thing that we do,” she said.
This article was published in partnership with the Local Reporting, Global Media class at St. Thomas University and The Aquinian, St. Thomas University’s official student publication.