Here’s something you don’t hear very often: there too much food at a food bank, but it’s not because of a reduction in demand.
Even though the shelves are full, there is still a need at the Moncton food bank.
To be clear, Dale Hicks is not complaining about the amount of food at the food banks’ distribution depot.
“When it’s at its peak you can’t get down the aisles here,” he said. “We’ve had to bring in trailers and put them out in the parking lot. We’ve had three or four refrigerated units in the parking lot at times.”
The Food Depot Alimentaire used to support just southeastern New Brunswick, but now they are the distribution centre for all 60 food banks in the province.
As a result, shipments from Food Banks Canada, their national partner have more than doubled.
“Last year, for example, it was 750,000 pounds of food,” said Hicks. “And, this year, it’s going to end up being 1.6 million pounds of food.”
That’s worth about $4 million dollars and all that food is needed.
There is one issue, though; the shipments tend to come in bulk. For instance, the food depot recently unloaded thousands of cans of chick peas. These are items that can be used, but not quickly and some of it will need to be stored.
“We are not telling people that we don’t need food anymore,” Hicks said. “We still need food to support the local area, but in order to support the 60 food banks, we need to have more space.”
Food Depot Executive Director Chantal Senecal agrees with that assessment and the organization has already decided what to do.
“We are looking to expand and add to the building we currently have,” she said.
The food depot has asked the province to share in the cost of a $500,000 expansion to the warehouse.
The distribution centre doesn’t just supply food banks, they also support soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
“We’re just not able to distribute it fast enough and we don’t have room to sort it,” Senecal said.
Hicks says if the building expansion doesn’t go forward, they may have to start turning some of the shipments away.
When the Christmas food drives start to ramp, Hicks says the warehouse is going to be full. All of it, unfortunately, is still needed as there are nearly 27,000 people registered with food banks in New Brunswick.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.