Growing Need Anticipated by P.E.I. Food Banks Ahead of Christmas

by Ella

Charlottetown, P.E.I. – As the holiday season approaches, food banks in Prince Edward Island are bracing for an increased demand, driven by longer lineups and heightened financial pressures on families. Mike MacDonald, the executive director of the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry, notes a concerning 27% spike in service utilization, with the anticipation of distributing up to 850 Christmas hampers this year, compared to the 600 provided in the previous year.

MacDonald emphasizes that the demand extends beyond regular food bank clients, with Christmas bringing additional challenges for many individuals and families. To streamline preparations, individuals are encouraged to register with the food bank, ensuring an accurate estimate of required hampers. The hampers typically include supplies for a turkey dinner and are assembled from community donations.


Corina Bolo, chair of the West Prince Christmas Hampers group, echoes these concerns, citing an expected surge in requests, potentially a third more than the previous year. The group, affiliated with the Caring Cupboard food bank, distributed 339 hampers last year, assisting over 1,000 people, including 37% children. Bolo emphasizes that the community’s generosity determines their ability to meet the increased demand, adding that the group is optimistic but also acknowledges the challenges faced by both families seeking assistance and those contributing to the cause.


With depot locations in Alberton, Bloomfield/O’Leary, Tignish, and Tyne Valley, the West Prince Christmas Hampers group aims to provide not only a festive meal but also a week’s worth of groceries and toys for children. The recipients of these hampers range from seasonal workers facing unemployment during this period to individuals grappling with the escalating costs of essential items.


Despite the challenges, the community has demonstrated support, with farmers contributing food, and businesses and individuals providing both cash donations and essential items. As the holiday season unfolds, P.E.I. food banks navigate the delicate balance of meeting the escalating demand while relying on community goodwill to ensure that everyone can experience the warmth and joy of the festive season.




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