As Canadians prepare for their Thanksgiving celebrations, many are finding the traditional dinner more costly than in previous years. The festive weekend has seen a sharp rise in demand for food services, coupled with a notable increase in food prices.
Statistics Canada recently reported a 6.8% spike in food prices this August compared to the same month in 2022. In a broader perspective, this marks a staggering 17.3% increase from prices just two years ago. For families across the nation, this means a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings is now more of a luxury.
“Things are getting worse and too many people are struggling to make ends meet,” commented Charles Levkoe, an associate professor at Lakehead University.
Adjusting Festive Plans
With wallets feeling the pinch, many shoppers are rethinking their Thanksgiving menu. Some of the pricier items have been set aside in favor of more budget-friendly alternatives.
“People are really on the hunt this year to try and put together an affordable Thanksgiving, and it may not be the traditional Thanksgiving that we are used to seeing,” noted interim CEO Kim Wilhelm with the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
Local Food Banks Feeling the Demand
While many families try to adapt to the rising costs, local food banks like the Food Bank of Waterloo Region are experiencing increased demand. They reported a surge of 30 to 40% in client demand this Thanksgiving weekend compared to the last.
“The reality is those accessing food assistance are accessing it 365 days a year, not just Thanksgiving,” Wilhelm emphasized.
Hoping for Relief
As Canadians brace themselves for more financial challenges, there’s hope that the worst may soon be behind. “Based on our forecast last year, we are expecting the food inflation rate to end at about five per cent by the end of this year,” stated Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University.
Community Support during Oktoberfest
Adding a glimmer of hope to the challenging scenario, the Onkel Hans Food Drive will once again be a feature at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Monday. Eager volunteers will be stationed throughout, ready to accept cash donations and non-perishable food items, all in support of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region