EDITORIAL: An ongoing need

Why do we, in an affluent country and an affluent community, continue to have a need for food banks?

Once again this year, the Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre distributed seasonal hampers to families in the community.

And the Toys and Toonies for Tots and Teens drive provided gifts for boys and girls.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, individuals, businesses and organizations showed their generosity with donations, food drives, gift drives and special events to provide support to those in need.

This generosity is appreciated and it shows a kind spirit within the community.

But it also reveals an underlying problem. Why do we, in an affluent country and an affluent community, continue to have a need for food banks?

This year close to 140 seasonal hampers were distributed, and according to statistics from our food bank, roughly one in 25 people in the community will require support from the food bank at least once in a year.

The problem is not unique to Summerland.

Food banks are in place in communities across the country, and each month, more than 850,000 people use food banks for assistance.

There are others who are struggling financially. A cold month with high heating costs or an unexpected expense could leave a struggling family without enough money to meet the basic needs.

Poverty is present, even in this community.

The cost of housing in proportion to average wages is one factor, although not the only one.

For others, wages are low, resulting in tight, careful budgeting each month.

Some, receiving assistance, have said the funding they receive is not adequate to meed their needs.

In Summerland, the community is recognizing a problem exists, and there are some discussions about ways to address poverty.

It is important to have these discussions.

While the generosity of this community is impressive, we need some long-term solutions so eventually food banks and similar initiatives will no longer be needed.

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