Food Banks Canada released its annual HungerCount Report this week and it found 882,000 people across the country using food banks. Three thousand of those people are from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, 1,000 of which are children.
But Joanne Olson, executive director of Friends In Need Food Bank, said she thinks there are more people, especially seniors, in the community who would qualify for a monthly food hamper.
"I think there are a lot more people eligible," Olson said. Currently, her organization gives out 700 hampers of food every month.
Food bank clients can also come in weekly for fresh fruit and vegetables, buns and bread, and other extras.
The cutoff income level for a single person to get a monthly hamper is about $1,400, for two people, $2,000, three, $2,400, four, $2,700, five, $3,100, and six, $3,400.
With Christmas season around the corner, Olson is worried about scammers, and she pointed out Friends In Need Food Bank does not solicit door-to-door for food or cash donations, except if it's a special event, for example, students collecting food for We Scare Hunger, or the Mormon Church that collects food before Thanksgiving Day. Any community initiatives affiliated with their organization are posted online, Olson said.
"If it's us, it's on the website," Olson said, referring to www.friendsneedfood.com.
Friends In Need Food Bank focuses on two events around Christmas where they collect food and cash: the Maple Ridge Christmas Parade, which is on Dec. 1 this year; and the CPR Holiday Train, which will be at the Port Haney Station on Tuesday, Dec.
18 at 7: 45 p.m.