Rising costs and increased demand hit Canadian charities hard

Fears of a recession and rising inflation are the latest challenges facing the not-for-profit sector

Rising costs and increased demand hit Canadian charities hard

With inflation driving up prices and expenses, charitable organizations are being pressured on multiple fronts, with demands for their services accelerating, contributions lagging, and the outlook for recession growing.

As inflation puts the squeeze on many families already on tight budgets, demands on charities around the nation have never been higher, reported CBC News.

Volunteers at one charity, Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids, found itself having to prepare snacks for children even past the academic year. During the last school year from September to June, the number of children who needed meals from the organization rose by 20% to 5,400 every day.

Despite some food contributions that Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids receives, the organization still spends more than a million dollars annually on supplying wholesome lunches.

"We know that gas prices, utility prices, food prices, housing costs, all of those things are up and that just creates a lot of pressure on families," said Bethany Ross, the organization's executive director, during an interview at its kitchen in downtown Calgary.

As spiking interest rates and inflation raise affordability concerns for both Canadian families and small businesses, the charitable sector is facing a future of uncertainty in terms of costs and donations.

The charitable fundraising website, CanadaHelps, reportedly raised roughly $450 million in 2021, a 2% decrease from the year before, marking the first yearly decline in donations in its 22-year history.

For the Southern Alberta chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the significant change in the price of building materials over the past two years has been a challenge. To get by, it has looked for less expensive options for flooring and tiling, among other things.

In spite of the financial hurdles, an increase in applications from families looking for affordable housing has prompted the group to move forward with a new housing project in northeast Calgary.

"We have a large number of applications," Jody Moseley, a spokesperson for the organization, told CBC News. "You see people in the rent-cycle where rent continually goes up. Home ownership is even more challenging than ever before for people to get into their first home."