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Rising food prices, fewer donations hit Victoria charity as demand for meals increases

Our Place community member Donny McLeod gets an Easter dinner from a volunteer. (CTV News) Our Place community member Donny McLeod gets an Easter dinner from a volunteer. (CTV News)

A Victoria social services agency is sounding the alarm over rising food prices.

Our Place Society says rising food costs are straining the organization's budget and increasing demand for its services at the same time.

Our Place serves more than 1,000 meals to the city's most vulnerable population daily.

“I’m definitely concerned,” said Brian Cox, food services manager for Our Place's housing sites, in a statement Tuesday. “My suppliers are telling me to brace for a 30 per cent increase across the board."

Demand for meals at Our Place increased 35 per cent in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2021.

The biggest cost is protein, said Cox, adding that is where most of the charity’s donation dollars go. "I’m very skilled at stretching a dollar, but now I’m worried it may snap."

The charity says the recent cold weather has delayed a lot of fresh vegetables getting to Our Place from more than 30 local farmers through the Victoria community food hub and the Farmlands Trust.

"Along with serving balanced nutrition, we also love to support local farmers," Cox said. "Not only is it fresher and tastier, but it also helps reduce our carbon footprint. That’s important to us as a vital community partner."

Our Place CEO Julian Daly said that with food costs rising for everyone, donations to the society have been dropping.

"Our kitchen does an incredible job in serving hundreds of nutritious meals every single day, but we are definitely feeling the pinch this year," Daly said. "Donations are flagging and food costs are rising, which is a difficult obstacle to overcome."

Anyone who would like to donate to Our Place is asked to visit the charity's website or call 250-940-5060.

"We are nothing without our donors, and the support of the community has always been incredible," the CEO said. "Unfortunately, we are struggling this year to make ends meet." Top Stories

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