A Montreal food bank will start charging the non-profit groups it supplies, saying it must do so due to rising costs.

Moisson Montreal collects food donated from grocery stores, which it then distributes to other charities but Executive Director Richard Daneau said the organization has exhausted its fundraising options to cover costs associated with storing and transporting perishable goods.

Soon, the 254 non-profits Moisson works with will be charged between $100 and $5,000 a year, depending on their needs.

Daneau said the private sector is bearing too much of the burden of feeding the poor.

“The real issue is that only 10 per cent of our financing is coming from the government,” he said.

Among the recipients of Moisson’s food is the NDG Food Depot, which operates a soup kitchen and hands out twice-weekly food baskets. Depot Director of Development Bonnie Soutar said paying Moisson a yearly fee would cut into its other programs.

“We give kids healthy snacks for school, but that’s not funded yet. If we have to pay $1,000 or $2,000, definitely that means we’ll have to find more money elsewhere,” she said.

While Daneau said the food depots can offset their service fee by charging a small sum for food baskets, even an amount as little as $3.00 could be too much for the most needy.

“That $6.00 is a lot for me, to get milk, to stay healthy, so asking a fee means I don’t know what more I can sacrifice,” said NDG Food Depot client Marie-Lou Riberdy.

Soutar said charging clients goes against the principles of the organization.

“We don’t want to create barriers for the people who really, really can’t afford it and that would create two classes of people,” she said.