The final numbers won't be known until later in January, but organizers with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society are already bracing for bad news.
"Overall, donations are down significantly, and demand is up," said Doug Aason, director of community investment for the non-profit organization. The society collects and distributes food to more than 25,000 people weekly through 15 food depots and more than 100 community agencies in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and the North Shore.
Aason said preliminary figures for this year as compared to last year for food donations are approximately 38 per cent down, while demand has increased 51 per cent.
"It's a pretty scary situation," said Aason. "We're really hoping that our monetary donations will offset what we're down in food donations."
For every dollar the society receives, it's able to buy $3 worth of food.
"We don't receive any government funding, and we rely on the generosity of people willing to donate food, money and time," said Aason.
In the Royal City, approximately 600 people visit the New Westminster Food Bank each week.
The number of folks accessing the New Westminster depot continues to rise, with as many as 700 people using the depot during the two days it's open for pickup each week.
Two days a week, the food bank distributes food to people in need.
It welcomes donations of non-perishable items such as canned fish, canned meat, peanut butter, whole wheat pasta, pasta sauces, soups, rice, canned fruit and vegetables, baby food and diapers.
The society does not accept homemade items, expired baby food, products containing alcohol or open packages of food.
Aason said the society isn't alone in feeling the financial pinch, as many other charitable organizations have had a tough year.
"This seems to be a tough time for everybody because there's a general fear with what's happening in the economy," said Aason. "There's a lot of fear out there."
Aason added that when the January numbers come in, the society will then have to figure out how to budget and get through the next nine months.
"It's hard for us in the summer to get the word out that we're always needing to replenish our food supplies," said Aason. "People tend to forget about hunger and homelessness in the summer, - so we have to have enough to get us through for the next nine months."
Aason remains hopeful that even if the numbers are down, people will continue to contribute.
"Our donors are very supportive," he said. "If our food (stock) doesn't get back to the levels we need, we're hoping monetary donations will continue coming in. - We'll have to wait and see."
Funds donated to the local food bank are forwarded to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, which then provides food to the local food bank.
Donations can be dropped off at the food bank at 1111 Sixth Ave.
Call 604-525-9628 to donate or for more information.