While the media ignores job losses in Alberta under the new NDP government, food bank usage has increased.
Unfortunately, this isn't surprising. Under an NDP government in Manitoba, for example, food bank usage by the working class poor increased significantly, and became the second highest in the country:
I talked to Jodi Egan from the Calgary Food Bank, who says there has been a steady increase in clients since January, with a 23 percent influx in March and a 20 percent increase in August.
Since March, fluctuations in increased use have been between 10 percent and 20 percent, where a normal year to year increase is usually around 3 percent to 4 percent.
Egan says that 93 percent of new clients arriving at the food bank have recently been laid off.
Tamisan Bencz-Knight with the Edmonton Food Bank directed me to a recent survey posted on September 24, 2015 that indicates that food bank usage has increased by 1893 people since 2013 -- a 13.8% increase.
Fifteen percent of respondents indicated that they had lost their jobs; another 8 percent indicated that their hours had been decreased; 7.4 percent of respondents are receiving unemployment benefits, while 5 percent indicated that they had a household income of over $50,000 – in which usage is attributed to changes in the economy.
One third of respondents said that their household income decreased in the last 3 to 6 months, and most said that the reason they couldn’t afford food was due to lack of employment.
With the increase in clients, the food banks need more donations to make sure that they are prepared for Christmas. In Calgary, they are in need of basics such as beans, pasta, canned soup, canned meat and peanut butter. Jodi says that every dollar donated can buy five dollars worth of food. Edmonton could use monetary donations to fuel their trucks to bring food to depots and agencies.
You can also bring non-perishable food items to the Stand Up For Alberta rally in Grande Prairie on October 3, 2015.
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