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VIDEO: More and more seniors relying on the food bank

The cost of living is increasing and it's getting out of reach for an increasing number of seniors.

The changing clientele at the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank reflects that.

"Right now, 20 percent of our overall client base are seniors 55 and older," said Tammie Watson at the food bank on Enterprise Way in Kelowna. "We definitely see the influx coming."

She points to a 30 percent increase in the number of seniors using food banks that was identified five years ago, and the trend continues.

"In 2019 Food Banks Canada did a national study and it is showing that seniors are the fastest-growing food bank user group," said Watson.

And you don't need to look at national statistics to see it.

"We do see it here locally," she said.

"We provide assistance to about 900 seniors every month averaging over 10,800 a year."

There is a surge in demand this week as people try to put together big meals for Thanksgiving, and seniors are a big part of it.

"The pensions that they're living off, or whatever it is that they have in their savings doesn't quite match the cost of living."

Rising costs include things like rent and medication.

"What they have in the bank just simply doesn't provide their full needs," added Watson. "If the food bank wasn't here, many of them simply wouldn't have food in the fridge."

The Central Okanagan Community Food Bank just finished a successful Thanksgiving Food Drive. But the demands on the agency continue to grow.

So Watson makes the pitch.

"I'd just like to put out there for anyone that wasn't able to support our food drive with food donations, to go on our website and donate securely online."

A $50 donation feeds one senior for one month.

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