The Christmas Kettle Campaign in Smithers raised over 55 thousand dollars to help fund food banks in both Houston and Smithers beating their 48 thousand dollar goal.
Bulkley Valley Ministries Director Tim Sharp says they’ve been seeing an increase in Food Bank use with “Houston really being affected. You’re seeing it more so there. However, in Smithers the need is still high for a community this size,” says Sharp.
He says the economy is mostly to blame for the spike in usage.
“The working families are starting to live pay cheque to pay cheque, and they’re starting to struggle when purchasing food…so you’re starting to see more families rely on things like the food bank,” with needs in other services up, too, says Sharp.
Over the Christmas season the Salvation Army helped 151 Houston families with food hampers and provided over 4 thousand visits to the Smithers drop in centre with 2,800 bowls of soup served.
The money raised over Christmas, which Sharp says makes up most of their budget, helps pay for emergency assistance, clothing, temporary shelter and emergency transportation.
Sharp says with exceeding fundraising goals, he’ll look at implementing programs to help people learn life skills and gain employment. He says it’s about a hand up, not a hand out to end cycles of poverty.
“Teaching proper dietary skills and portion sizes and stuff, that’s one of the options. And life skills in general, so you’re not relying on the food bank.”