PHC Food Bank

People for a Healthy Community

Press Release

Tuesday, July 14 2015

Hunger Awareness Month in March is when Food Banks Canada collects information from across the country to create an annual comprehensive study of food bank use in Canada. 

The 2014 Report is available now at foodbankscanada.ca. This report includes statistics of hungerʼs reach across Canada - “Many people do not realize the extent of hungerʼs reach in this country. Each month, close to 850,000 Canadians are assisted by food banks, and 36.4% of those helped are children and youth.”

Gabriolaʼs Food Bank, run by People for a Healthy Community (PHC) participated in this study by compiling data over a 5 week period. Our data indicates that PHC served 178 Adults and 70 Children during that time. 

In 2014, 148 adults and 72 children were served. This yearʼs numbers show an increase in adults accessing the Food Bank.

According to the Canada-wide food bank study, there was no typical profile of those who turn to a food bank for help. 

Our data echoes this conclusion; PHC Food Bank usersʼ economic backgrounds are diverse. On Gabriola, during the study period, the householdsʼ primary source of income included 41 people who were employed (33 in 2014), 7 who relied on Employment Insurance (3), 37 who were on social assistance (33), 38 who collected disability benefits (45), 11 seniors on Old Age Pension (13), 2 individuals with student loans as their income (0), 2 people with no income (8), and 5 people who specified other as their primary income (1). All PHC Food Bank users are permanent, fulltime residents of Gabriola.

PHCʼs Food Bank operates on a weekly bag system. Manager Sasha Petersen does an excellent job of organizing donations and volunteers so the process is efficient and friendly. Recipients indicate which items they require including a protein, dairy or non-dairy, fruit, vegetable and grain choice; items for infants, children or teens; and personal care products. Volunteers assemble the weekly available items in a bag to give to recipients. For example, if a recipient requires a protein and a grain, they may receive tinned salmon and rolled oats. Items vary depending on what is available; although, baked beans and tinned salmon are currently staples.

Along with the Food Bank, PHC staff and volunteers organize three weekly Soup Socials; a monthly Seniorsʼ Lunch; the Food for Thought School Lunch Program which includes daily emergency lunches and two hot lunches monthly*; and the PHC Community Garden with programs for children and seniors. In addition to food based programs, PHC offers a wide variety of services under the Circle of Care umbrella.

All PHC programs are made possible with the help of donations from Gabriolans. To donate or for more information on People for a Healthy Community, please call 250.247.7311 or visit phcgabriola.org. For the past year, there has been only one hot lunch, but in September, there will be two available in the Food for Thought School Lunch Program.