Food bank criteria adjusted for cost of living increases

The Salvation Army has updated its criteria for hamper access to the Williams Lake Food Bank to better reflect the current cost of living.

The Salvation Army has updated its criteria for hamper access to the Williams Lake Food Bank to better reflect the current cost of living.

In 2011, the provincial average cost of a nutritious food basket for a family of four was $868.43 per month, says Capt. Claudine Kadonaga.

Those earning minimum wage, receiving income assistance, or facing other challenges such as high rents, child care, or transportation costs, for example, struggle to find ways to purchase food as well as meet their other basic needs, Kadonaga says.

The Williams Lake Food Bank assesses client’s income and basic living expenses to determine household funds available for monthly groceries, she says.

Entertainment and clothing expenses are not calculated when determining eligibility, she says.

If clients are in need of assistance with clothing or household items, and they fall into the weekly hamper category, Thrift Store vouchers are available to meet specific needs.

Hampers provide staple foods for two to three days plus vegetables, fruit, baked goods, and snacks.  Clients choose a number of additional items such as dairy, margarine, condiments, spices, beverages, personal care products, diapers, formula, pet food, household products, etc.

The average cost of hampers provided is $60 for a single person; $100 for a couple; and $210 for a large family of five to seven people.

Food bank clients are seen on a walk-in basis at the Salvation Army located at 272 Borland St. and should bring with them identification for members in household, proof of address,  and documentation of income and expenses.

The food bank is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and closed over lunch.

Salvation Army Soup Kitchen serves breakfast Monday to Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. and lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

The Salvation Army Drop In and Fitness Centre is open Monday to Friday  from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (closed over lunch). Activities include games, crafts, life skills classes, yoga and aerobics, weight room, coffee counter, television  room, pool and ping-pong tournaments, etc.