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Food banks say holiday spike in donations needs to be sustained to meet growing needs


While food banks see a spike in donations just before the holidays, that giving spirit can dry up quickly.

At On Rock Community Services in Pierrefonds, the warehouse is stuffed but soon all of the donations will be gone.

"Two years ago, we were doing 200 families, and now we're doing [300]," said Kim Reid, the organization's founder and president.

Food banks across Quebec have seen demand jump by 33 per cent this year compared to 2022.

"Most of this food will be gone by March because the demand keeps growing. So as much as you can look around the warehouse and say, 'Wow, this place is packed,' it's packed because of Christmas," Reid said.

With the rising cost of living, that need is year round.

"It's been —I'm getting emotional. It's been inconceivable to see the increase that we've seen," said Véronique Beaulieu-Fowler, director of philanthropic development at Food Banks of Quebec. "We're now at 871,000 people who use food help every month."

That means around 10 per cent of all Quebecers have used a food bank this year. The government gave organizations $18 million in November, but food banks say that goes quickly and soon they expect their shelves to be bare again.

"We've seen 72 per cent of organizations who have noted that in 2023 they didn't have enough food," said Beaulieu-Fowler.

"It's not looking at this and saying look at all we got, it's looking at this and saying we need to keep this rolling," Reid added.

Holiday boxes bring in a lot of supplies but now that Christmas has passed, the donations have slowed.

"This is the time it gets a little drier because everyone is already tapped out from giving and from Christmas," Redi said.

While On Rock will start the year with plenty of food to hand out it still relies on the community giving no matter what month it is. Top Stories

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