The people in charge of providing meals for individuals in need at Our Place have become adept at partnering with local merchants and leveraging donated dollars to make them go further.
But ongoing increases in the cost of food have made that an even tougher balancing act, especially with the number of people being served at the Pandora Avenue dining room growing even more quickly than food prices.
“I’m definitely concerned,” Brian Cox, food services manager for Our Place’s housing sites, said in a release. “My suppliers are telling me to brace for a 30-per-cent increase across the board. I’m very skilled at stretching a dollar, but now I’m worried it may snap.”
In the first six months of 2022, the facility served 185,895 meals or just over 1,000 meals per day. That’s up 35 per cent over the same period last year.
The rise in the cost of protein-based foods such as meat, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese is having a major impact on the Our Place kitchen, as these are where most donation dollars go, Cox said. Compounding things is the weather-related delay on getting fresh vegetables from more than 30 local farms that are part of the Victoria community food hub, and The Farmlands Trust.
Our Place CEO Julian Daly said the dining room is becoming busier every day with more people struggling to afford basic needs.
“Our kitchen does an incredible job in serving hundreds of nutritious meals every single day, but we are definitely feeling the pinch this year,” he said. “Donations are flagging and food costs are rising, which is a difficult obstacle to overcome.”
While the community continues to support Our Place, he added, “unfortunately, we are struggling this year to make ends meet.”
Donations can be made to the meal program online at ourplacesociety.com/donate or by phone at 250-940-5060.
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