Demand spikes at Montreal food centre
MONTREAL -- The Benedict Labre House says requests for food hampers have almost quadrupled since moving from Griffintown to Saint Henri in 2018. The food bank has had to set a monthly limit of one basket per client now that requests for hampers have gone from 12 a week to over 40.
Benedict Labre House clinical coordinator Francine Nadler says the move to Saint Henri has increased the visibility of the food bank as well as access to it. It is now closer to public transportation.
"We have all kinds of people coming. Before it was the people who knew us and we would give small food bags out because it was single people coming. Now with all the refugees that have been coming into Montreal, we see a lot more people," she says.
She adds rising rent costs and a lack of affordable housing have also put the pinch on people's pocketbooks. Nadler says the food bank is in a very difficult situation.
"It's heart-wrenching. Somebody calls you to say 'can I please be on the list?' and you have to say 'no, I'm sorry there's no more room on the list.'"
Benedict Labre House kitchen project manager Sophie Tousignant says they're not just dealing with a food shortage. The centre is also low on space to store perishables and could use more staff as well.
"If I could give out more (food), I would. But I'm missing the space to store meats and vegetables and things that people really want more than just a can of soup or a can of beans," she says.
Nadler says no Canadian city should be dealing with a situation such as this.
"2020 Montreal, Quebec, Canada- shouldn't be happening, should not be happening. Third world country maybe, developing country maybe, war-torn country absolutely. Here -- should not be happening."