Who I think of on Food Bank Day

Today is the Open House and Food Bank Day at CBC — the 25th year that CBC in Vancouver has raised money for B.C. food banks so they can provide for people who need a little help.

This generally happens in December. It always makes me think of a day in November. In 2004, to be precise.

I was working as CBC Radio’s reporter in Nelson, and our assignment desk was expecting the annual report on child poverty in our province. So, I was asked to go talk to a family, with children, who were struggling.

An articulate and brave single working mom with a young son agreed to talk to me on the radio. She invited me into her apartment while she made dinner for the boy; I remember her stirring yoghurt into some organic macaroni and cheese to add a little more protein for him. She told me she got help from the food bank, at times, and healthy protein was hard to afford.

It’s not a dramatic story, but I think of them every time we talk about food banks. About one in three people who rely on food banks in B.C. is a child.

Food prices are on the rise too. That’s something we all sense in our grocery bills, but it’s really striking when you look at the numbers, especially for staples.

Here are changes in food prices, from Oct. 2010 to Oct. 2011:

  • Potatoes – up 24%
  • Carrots – up 20%
  • Coffee – up 19&
  • Flour – up 17%
  • Eggs – up 13%

[Data from Statistics Canada, calculation by me.]

I did that story seven years ago and child poverty in B.C. is still on the rise, and the worst in Canada. We did the story again this past November. And next year?

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