With its catalytic converter stolen, an essential delivery truck for Food Depot Alimentaire in Moncton, N.B., is officially out of commission.
“It’s extremely frustrating, especially this time, because the robbery happened in broad daylight. So we caught them on camera, they were wearing masks, a hoodie. We filed a police report,” said executive director Stephane Sirois. “It’s very frustrating. It’s costing time and money that’s not going towards food.”
“The RCMP, we filed a police report and they’re just overwhelmed with these cases,” she added.
It’s the second delivery truck from the food depot that’s been targeted this year.
“We called the garage who’s fixing our truck and there’s a huge waiting list for them to even get the part because so many are getting stolen, so we might have to wait several weeks… months,” said Sirois.
Overall, the organization services 64 food banks and community kitchens, plus more than 100 schools.
Sirois said this means the non-profit will have to rent another truck in the meantime, which is another added expense on top of other operational obstacles.
“We anticipate a major increase again this year, we don’t see things slowing down. Donations are way down as well and we have to purchase a lot more food, so up to date in our budget, we had to buy almost 10 times more food than last year to get to the same volume,” he said.
Despite the set backs, the Food Depot Alimentaire is pushing forward and in some cases even expanding.
The provincial coordinator for programs and community engagement, Carrie Delaney, says that its school breakfast program is feeding more students than ever this year.
“We’re very excited to have the province on board this year, it means a lot to us and that was what was able to encourage us to be able to grow,” she said. “So we’re pushing hard for a universal program where it’s available to every student across the province right now.”
Delaney says the province committed $550,000 this year towards the program.
“It’s so important, some students find this is the only meal they get a day,” she said. “Breakfast is a staple in every household, so you can’t learn unless you have a full belly and it also promotes a culture of learning and engagement within the students.”
Adding, “last year we did 52 schools and this year we’re doing 110. So now we’re reaching about 25,000 students.”
Officials say it is coming up to the busiest time of the year for donations, and while they are hopeful this holiday season will fill their shelves, they are also preparing for potential future challenges.