The first full-time food bank in Delta will soon open at a local strip mall to serve a growing need.
The Guru Nanak Food Bank will be located at 1118-84th Ave. in North Delta, a part of Delta that has had a particular need for such a service.
Representatives with the Guru Nanak Modi Khana Food Bank Society made a presentation to Delta council on Monday to talk about the opening of the group’s third food bank, a 6,500-square-foot space that will soon open and will be run entirely by volunteers.
Having first opened a food bank during the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020 in Surrey, and subsequently another in Abbotsford, society volunteers have assisted many thousands, including delivering donations door-to-door to those in need.
The society’s food banks currently assist 5,500 active recipients.
The Guru Nanak Food Bank in North Delta will be inclusive, open seven days a week and will also have a day dedicated to serving seniors.
Thanking the City of Delta for its assistance, the society’s Neeraj Walia said they are hoping the city can also help in finding a more permanent location in the community.
The society, which relies entirely on donations, received an additional boost on Monday with council agreeing to provide a $10,000 grant.
A soft opening is scheduled for Dec. 19.
Earlier this year, council endorsed a motion by Mayor George Harvie to investigate where an emergency food bank could be established in North Delta, something he said needed to be done as soon as possible.
South Delta has a food bank open every Wednesday at the Lighthouse Church property at 5545 Ladner Trunk Rd. Other food services include the Delta Food Coalition.
North Delta also had a food bank, a Surrey Food Bank satellite site, that had been in operation for more than 12 years, open every second Tuesday at the Northside Community Church.
A previous Delta staff report noted that according to the Surrey Food Bank, it has the capacity to provide food at its satellite location for up to 150 families, while up to 200 Delta families have been accessing food programs in Surrey every week.
The report notes the demand for food emergency supports has significantly increased in Delta.
The city last year began undertaking a poverty needs assessment in advance of developing a new Poverty Reduction Action Plan.
Released this year, the plan states that current estimates show around 10,000 people in Delta live below the poverty line (about 10 per cent). That number increases to 14 per cent for visible minority groups and 30 per cent for recent immigrants. Those groups are especially vulnerable during this period of high inflation and the rising cost of living.