The Cortes Island Food Bank has seen a substantial increase in requests for food this fall, and volunteers managing the food bank expect that to continue.

Fillepe Figuiera, coordinator and treasurer at the Cortes Food Bank, stated that they had 70 clients this October compared to the five clients this time last year, over ten times the amount.

Food Banks Canada released the Hunger Count, a annual report on food bank usage. They showed a 32 per cent increase in food bank use nationally since last year and nearly an 80 per cent food bank usage since 2019, which is the largest year-over-year increase ever reported.

“All those economic drivers that are causing people to need food and help are multiplied on the island; we’ve got precarious jobs, precarious housing, more expensive food, it’s inevitable that we’re going to be seeing that increase,” Figuiera stated.

Figuiera also credits the Cortes Food Banks increase of clients to their improved outreach, where they increased their pickup dates from one day a month to four.

“We’re doing a better job of reaching out to people. We’re doing a good job with Better at Home and other agencies on the island to reach people who might need help. So I think that’s what we’re seeing.”

The Cortes Food Bank has launched a Virtual Food Drive in partnership with Food Banks BC to help with the demand. As of Nov. 14, the drive has raised over $9000.

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Listen below for more on our local food bank from Fillepe Figuiera on CKTZ: