The executive director for the Steinbach Family Resource Centre says they've seen an increase in the number of families accessing their resource programs.
Over the last few months, Jo-Anne Dalton says they have been seeing many more requests for higher-priced items such as fresh produce, baby formula, prenatal vitamins, and other baby essentials.
“We're definitely seeing requests, many more families than were previously accessing those items that maybe weren't difficult to purchase on their budgets before the pandemic and now because of issues like supply chains shortages, and labour shortages, they are just having more of a hard time with the costs of those things because their budgets are being impacted."
Dalton says they have been working to make more of these essential items available and have received helpful support through a variety of sources.
“In the last two years, we have put so many more resource programs in place, we have a lot of food rescue supports in place now and we receive fresh produce donations from local organizations that are making a huge difference for families that are struggling with those grocery budgets.”
In addition, Dalton says some of their funding comes through the Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program which helps families with milk and eggs for the first six months of a baby's life to make sure both the mother and child are getting the nutrition they need.
Dalton says providing physical resources is only a portion of what they do at the centre, but it is important.
"They are coming here for the connections that they are making to other families, to other caregivers, to other people who are in those same situations who can really understand and validate their experiences. That is a big part of what we do and then while we are here, we can offer them a little bit more relief in terms of groceries, or baby essentials, or diapers.”
With the exception of school supplies, Dalton adds “Families can access a lot of our resources and programs without even having to tell us their situation.”
Dalton encourages those who need help to drop by the Steinbach Family Resource Centre.