Students from Summerland Secondary School collected close to 1

Food bank need rises

Around one in 20 Summerlanders have used the Summerland Food Bank over the past year.

Around one in 20 Summerlanders have used the Summerland Food Bank over the past year.

John Bubb, president of the food bank, said 239 households, representing 557 people, came to the facility for food at least once between Nov. 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2014.

Bubb said more than half of the Summerland households which used the food bank will require its services fewer than four times a year and 64 used it just once.

“People will use it when they need it,” he said.

Only 10 households depend on the food bank each month and another 11 used it 11 of the past 12 months.

According to information from Food Banks Canada, there were 14 million visits to food banks across Canada over the past year and 841,191 people nationwide used a food bank each month.

“There are people who are not earning enough money to properly live,” Bubb said.

In December, the demand for the food bank increases.

Last year, 120 families needed seasonal hampers in December and this year Bubb estimates 120 to 130 will use the service in December.

At this time of year, community support of the food bank also increases.

Students at Summerland Middle School and Summerland Secondary School collected food bank donations during special Halloween events.

Middle school students collected 332 kilograms of food during a school dance on Halloween.

High school students collected close to 1,100 kilograms during their Halloween for Hunger food drive.

Throughout November, a business challenge has been organized to collect non-perishable food donations.

“We depend on that December wave of generosity,” Bubb said.

In addition to the food donations, the Summerland Food Bank received a $20,000 grant in aid from the municipality, $12,000 from the Summerland United Church and $5,000 from the United Way.

For the coming year, food bank organizers are applying for a provincial gaming grant, to replace some of the money from the municipality’s grant in aid.