More and more seniors in the 100 Mile House area are turning to the 100 Mile House Food Bank for help; a number that has been growing in recent years.
“There are so many seniors using the service now,” says 100 Mile House Food Bank Society secretary-treasurer Kathy Haveman.
“We’ve seen more than twice as many seniors come through since October.”
Society executive director Bob Hicks says there’s been a steady increase in seniors picking up food on distribution days.
“The cost of living is way up, but there’s been little increase in the cheques they’ve been getting.”
Haveman says a lot of seniors don’t own their own homes, and they’re renting instead.
“That’s not cheap; they have their rent and utilities.”
Given that a senior receiving a Canada Pension Plan and Guaranteed Income Supplement cheque only gets $952 a month, it doesn’t leave a lot for food, she adds.
Hicks says the Food Bank doesn’t receive any government funding except for the gaming grants, but it picks up a lot of things the government used to do.
“We shouldn’t have to have a food bank in this country.”
He notes the recent closure of the welfare office, which has been moved to the Service BC office, hasn’t helped.
The welfare office was closed on Nov. 30, and many people don’t know where to go, Hicks says. Those who do know where the service is located are forced to discuss their situation at the counter, he adds, and many don’t want to disclose their circumstances to everyone in the busy public office.
One result is more people turning to the Food Bank for help, Hicks explains.
“We try to help everybody.”