Community food bank battling empty shelves, high demand

Social media being used to rally donations, generate awareness.

Food is flying off the shelves faster than it is coming in at Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, resulting in dangerously low reserves on the shelves and concern that people’s needs may not be met.

Alex Counsell, operations manager at the food bank, said August is typically a slow time for donations, but this year is exceptional.

“As the food comes in we ‘re packing it up and getting it out the next day so we’re not really sitting on anything. It’s pretty bare,” said Counsell. “It’s normal to be low at this time but it seems to be magnified. It seems like we’ve got more clients and less donations.”

Counsell said social media has made a difference over the past few days. With the call out for donations dominating Twitter, the community has rallied to help.

But with numbers of food bank users increasing five per cent year over year, short- term rallies don’t fill the long-term need.

“Every new client needs results in multiple amount of food going out, so the demand is exponential,” said Counsell.

Gord Fuller, chairman of the 7-10 Club Society, said that organization is also operating on a thin line. He said the possibility the service may have to close its doors for a week or two later this summer is real.

“We’re still going at this point but there is still a danger of (closing) because of donations being down so much we’re just going month to month, week,” said Fuller, adding that he continues to search for new funding opportunities while keeping operating expenditures down.

“Demand goes up because the economy sucks,” he said. “And all of the restaurant closures in the downtown recently show that.”

In 2011, 7-10 Club served about 80,000 meals, an 18 per cent increase over 2010. At the same time, donations were down 25 per cent while food costs increased 17.5 per cent over the previous fiscal year.

It’s a similar trend at Loaves and Fishes. In April 2011 3,264 adults used the service. In April 2012 that jumped to 3,912.

Counsell said many new people using the food bank include those who are still working and simply can’t cover the cost of food, rent and transportation.

“Or people who have recently been laid off,” he said. “There just aren’t that many jobs out there and the cash flow runs out pretty quick for most people.”

Loaves and Fishes has an immediate demand for canned fruits and vegetables, canned protein, and produce or dairy products.

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

A float plane crashed into the waters near Painters Lodge in Campbell River on Thursday morning. Photo by Alistair Taylor / Campbell River Mirror
Float plane crashes into water near Campbell River

Pilot uninjured, plane hit sandbar while landing

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Most Read