Quebec government invests $ 3 million in food banks across the province due to increased demand – Montreal
The COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation have led to a significant increase in demand from food banks in Quebec. Many of them expect the number of visits to skyrocket during the holidays.
The Quebec government on Monday announced a $ 3 million investment in food banks across the province ahead of what will be another busy Christmas season.
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“The pandemic, honestly from the start, they’ve seen an increase in demand. At the same time, they have seen an increase in the number of people donating food or money, ”said Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister André Lamontagne.
This poses another problem: where to store all the food they need now.
“They found they were running out of refrigerators or trucks or sometimes the whole infrastructure needed to be refurbished,” Lamontagne said.
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“At the start of the pandemic, we had a growth in demand on food banks of between 30 and 50%. Now it’s around 21 percent, ”said Martin Munger, general manager of Food Banks of Quebec.
On Rock Community Services in the West Island said it would receive a grant for its 2,000-foot extension to its facility.
“But we actually need another 8,000 to 10,000 square feet,” said Kim Reid, president of On Rock.
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Before the pandemic, Reid said they were helping 210 families a week. Now it’s around 260.
“So many people coming and saying ‘I never imagined myself here. I never thought I would be at the door of a food bank, ”said Reid.
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“Due to the inflation we are suffering from, we are welcoming new people that we might not have seen before,” said Adrian Bercovici, Executive Director of the Generations Foundation.
The Generations Foundation feeds approximately 8,500 children a day in Montreal and on the South Shore.
Community organizations say rising food prices mean more people who have jobs are finding it harder to make ends meet, as well as more seniors on fixed incomes.
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“The working poor, they work and they just don’t make enough money to pay every bill, so one of the first places that gets cut is food,” Reid explained.
“Because if you don’t pay your rent, you’re going to lose your apartment, right?” You don’t pay for your car, you’ll lose your car and you won’t be able to do anything.
Fortunately, he said those who can donate are generous.
“We hope to help as many people as possible and there should be no hunger in Montreal or anywhere in the world,” Bercovici said.
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