In May, the inflation once again increased, this time to 7.7 per cent – a 39-year high. This increase saw the price of food drastically rise as well, which has caused a spike in food insecurity across the country and here in Moose Jaw.
So much in fact, that the Salvation Army’s Director of Community and Family Services, Lieutenant Lester Ward says they have noticed a significant increase in users of their Brown Bag Breakfast Program.
“In January, we were at about 137 breakfast requests for the month, and right now we’re ending the month of June at 382 requests for breakfast,” says Ward. “That's people that are coming from the streets, looking for something to eat. With such a huge increase to that, there are others that are tapping into the opportunity to access that resource.”
The increase in requests equals a 278 per cent spike in users of their breakfast program from January to the end of June.
The breakfast program operates out of their 175 First Avenue location Monday-Friday 9:00-11:00 a.m., is open to everyone, and no appointment is needed. Included in each breakfast is a muffin or croissant, juice or water, and a fruit cup to start their day.
Wards added that even though the program has only been operational for about nine months, those using the program are very appreciative that this type of option is available.
“They’re very respective and appreciative of what we do,” explains Ward. “We will do everything that we’re able to do to ensure that anyone that comes will be served. For the most part, people are very excited and very thankful for a program such as this.”
Besides the breakfast program, the Salvation Army like many organizations in the city, offer food packages to clients, and with the price of food increasing, they have had to adjust.
“What we’ve had to do to a certain degree try to adjust the giving to maybe a little bit of a reduced amount in order to serve more people. It’s almost like taking what you have and trying to share it out to give everyone a little bit, rather than one or two get all, and not having enough to go around."
The Salvation Army has a number of food programs, which include community, and school meals, along with their food packages.
Through all these tough times people are facing Ward says the community has stepped up to the plate with generosity towards the Salvation Army.
“We’re very thankful for the support of the community. Moose Javians have always demonstrated a big heart, and always give out a helping hand to someone. We would not be able to do the things that we do, and we do what we do because of the generosity, and the love and support of the people. Everything that comes in, we give back in ways to meet the needs of the people.”
Statistics Canada released their May 2022 Consumer Price Index, which saw grocery prices remain elevated in May as prices for food purchased from stores rose 9.7 per cent, matching the gain in April. With price increases across nearly all food products, Canadians reported food as the area in which they were most affected by rising prices.
Fresh vegetable prices increased 10.3 per cent in May, which included onions, peppers, and carrots, contributing the most, rising 10.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.