The Golden Food Bank is in the final stages of putting together the findings of a Columbia Basin wide study that will help them reduce their costs, and help them deliver their services more efficiently.
The 2012 study looked at 19 food banks around the Columbia Basin, and will help the Golden Food Bank identify best practises that can be implemented locally.
“Our primary objective is to reduce our cost structure at the Golden Food Bank by 40 per cent. We’ve already found significant savings from this Basin study that we’re working on,” said Barb Davies, executive director of the Golden Food Bank.
The local food bank has higher than average operating costs, mainly due to the fact that they pay market rate for their building and utilities, whereas other food banks have had a space donated to them.
To offset this cost, the Golden Food Bank has renovated their building to allow for two separate office spaces, one of which has already been rented out. The 2012 study revealed that in March alone, there were 4,175 individuals who received a food hamper from a Columbia Basin food bank.
“To put this into context, food banks provided food to a population about the size of our municipality in a month. I think that’s really staggering, and this happens every month in the Columbia Basin,” said Davies.
The Golden Food Bank provides food hampers to an average of 105 households per month, with roughly 60 per cent residing in Golden, and the rest in Area A.
The food comes from community donations and food drives, as well as a monthly shipment from the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank, for which the Golden Food Bank has to cover the transportation cost.
“Our primary aim is always to increase the nutritional value of the food items that are donated,” said Davies. “Almost half of the people that access the food bank are families, with 31 per cent of our clientele being children.”
Food bank usage across the country is at an all-time high. The Golden Food Bank hit its all-time high in 2010, and has gone down about 11 per cent since then.
“Low income is really at the heart of why people access the food bank. The strength of the local economy has a direct impact on who walks into the food bank on a weekly basis,” said Davies.
And because it is unlikely these families’ incomes will go up any time soon, the Golden Food Bank is determined to reduce their costs to better serve their cliental.
The results of the Columbia Basin study will be ready soon, and Davies will be distributing them as widely as possible.