More seniors than ever are now relying on food banks in British Columbia.
In March, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank had to help a staggering 2,700 seniors. “That’s an alarming increase of over 1,200 seniors in just a few short years,” according to Cynthia Boulter, the food bank’s chief operating officer.
Current economic conditions have left seniors with no choice but to turn to charities for basic necessities across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
The Salvation Army in Chilliwack also reported a significant surge in the number of elderly people seeking assistance.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the overall count has skyrocketed by more than threefold, and what’s more concerning is that the number of seniors seeking aid has increased twofold.
“When we first opened the program a few years ago, it was less than 1,000 families that were coming to get food from the pantry. Now, we are well over 3,000,” said Salvation Army’s community partnerships coordinator, Josh Draheim.
Local Giuseppe Berusini was among the dozen individuals waiting in line at the Chilliwack food bank for hours for his basic grocery needs.
“We don’t see the golden years anymore. I’m 69-years-old. I should be secure and stable in life,” Berusini told CTV News.
Sheila Malcolmson, the Minister of Social Development and Poverty in British Columbia, made a statement in Cloverdale this week, blaming global inflation for the struggles of British Columbians.
“We know that the cost of housing, the cost of food has hit people really hard, and that’s why we just invested another $49 million just in food security alone,” claimed Malcolmson.