Across the country, Canadians are witnessing and feeling the effects of the overall surge in food costs. Subsequently, the reliance on organizations and food programs that provide relief is also growing. According to Statistics Canada, one in five Canadians say they are somewhat or very likely they will have to obtain free meals or food from community organizations if food prices continue to rise over the next six months.
The Mustard Seed is witnessing the perfect economic storm, considering the increase in the number of clients being served, expanded food programming, inflation, and the increased cost of goods and services.
Food donations are heavily relied upon to offset costs and unfortunately, there has been a steady decline. With suppliers across Alberta and BC increasing their prices, our organization has been forced to update our cost per meal from $3.51 to our current average cost of $5.38.
“Reducing the quality and quantity of our meals isn’t an option for us,” says Colette Eirich, Managing Director for The Mustard Seed Medicine Hat. “We are committed to providing healthy meals for everyone who walks through our doors.”
In April 2019, The Mustard Seed Medicine Hat began tackling food insecurity and launched a daily meal program in its newly renovated Community Centre. Operating seven days a week, the established service has fed over 12,800 vulnerable individuals in need.
Marg, a client of The Mustard Seed, says, “When I pay bills, I don’t have very much (money) leftover to buy groceries. So, I’m thankful for the opportunity – it’s wonderful that I can get a meal from The Mustard Seed.”
Over 3,600 nutritional meals are served each month – but the need is growing.
To accommodate this rapid growth, we reached out to our generous community for support, in hopes of obtaining the proper storage to increase our capacity and efficiency.
Thankfully, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) answered our call, and because of their generosity and commitment to giving back, The Mustard Seed Medicine Hat was gifted with two storage sheds. The FCC AgriSpirit Fund supports projects by charities, non-profit groups, First Nations bands, and Metis settlements in communities of less than 150,000 people.
“This amazing donation could not have come at a more critical time,” says Eirich. “We feel blessed to have the support of FCC and are grateful we can grow our operations and continue to meet the needs of our vulnerable neighbours.”
FCC is making positive and lasting changes in all the communities where they work across Canada. We are exceedingly grateful for their generosity and cannot emphasize enough the positive impact this will have on the daily meal program’s operations.
The Mustard Seed is eternally grateful for our donors and supporters who chose to serve others in a time when it is so desperately needed.
For more information:
Source: Statistics Canada, “Rising prices are affecting the ability to meet day-to-day expenses for most Canadians.” The Daily. June 2022; Portrait of Canadian Society _ Impacts of Rising Prices, April 19 to May 1, 2022.