‘A number of households are struggling’: Saskatoon Meals Financial institution kicks off Christmas marketing campaign

The Saskatoon Food Bank says it has seen an increase in the number of working families using its services.

“What we’ve seen since January is that increase in inflation really is affecting folks,” executive director Laurie O’Conner told CTV News.

“If you’re struggling and the cost of food has gone up by 11 per cent, it’s going to be big.”

She said they’re now helping over 20,000 people each month and 40 per cent are children.

“Lots of families are struggling,” O’Conner said.

“We know that child poverty in this province is stubborn. One in four children lives in poverty in Saskatchewan. Our numbers are stark as well. We’re seeing about 40 per cent of our usage rates are requests made on behalf of children.”

A report done in 2017 found that 26.2 per cent of children in Saskatchewan lived in poverty. That is the third-highest number in Canada, according to the report.

“All the years I’ve worked in the community, we haven’t been able to move the needle on that,” O’Conner said.

She said the Food Bank has started its Christmas campaign called Light It Up.

“It’s been a tough couple of years. The pandemic kept people apart, so we’re hoping that folks will take a little bit of time to get together and enjoy company and think about their friends and neighbours who might be struggling. Then share ways with us they are lighting it up for the community. Things they’re supporting and things they’re doing that are fun.”

She said for food donations, people should consider nutrition.

“Hearty soups and stews, canned protein, pasta and sauce, those kinds of things are still really important to us.”

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