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Bowen Food Bank grapples with inflation

A service staple on the island is adapting to the current state of food prices in Canada
Sue Clarke has run the Food Bank at the Little Red Church for over 20 years. She stocks the shelves and frozen items throughout the week. There’s also pet food for Cats and Dogs.

One of Bowen’s most important and enduring services is working hard to persevere through a rapid rise in food prices which has gripped the country.

The local Food Bank, run out of the Little Red Church on Miller Road, has operated on the island for more than 25 years. Started by then-United Church Minister Wendy Reid and parishioner Angie McCullough, a few shelves stocked by the pair of creators has grown into a $3,000 a month operation offering a wide range of food options.

Sue Clarke currently runs the Food Bank, a position she’s held for more than two decades. She says the recent wave of inflation in Canada, which is not expected to end anytime soon, is impacting the operation on two fronts.

“Both from our point of view, which is the shopping, and for users who are not getting as much for their money in their shopping,” she says.

With people getting less for their money at grocery stores, Clarke says use of the Food Bank has gone up this year. This also means the Food Bank has to be extra attentive while shopping, since their dollars are not going as far either. But it’s a challenge Clarke says the operation is up for, especially with increased demand for the service.

Clarke reminds people use of the Food Bank is anonymous, and is open 24/7. Canned and fresh foods, and pet food too, is available between the shelved portion inside the Church entrance, and the fridge/freezer at the doorway to Collins Hall. Items are re-stocked weekly.

The Food Bank runs entirely on donations, and Clarke says these are always welcome to keep things running. Information on how to donate can be found at the Little Red Church. All donations include a tax receipt.

Food donations can be made too, but Clarke asks that people only donate fresh and unopened food. Expired, opened, or used food has to be thrown out, creating extra work for the Food Bank.