Flora David-Ogah is a single mother who arrived in Montreal four years ago.
The mother-of-two has seen her spending power dwindle over the past year and is struggling to buy basic necessities and support her teenage girls.
“(Prices) are going up every day,” David-Ogah said. “I’ts horrible.”
With September around the corner, she’s even more stressed.
“It’s very difficult. School supplies are (a lot) of money.”
David-Ogah is one of hundreds of parents who stopped by Welcome Hall Mission Tuesday to pick up backpacks filled with pencils, notebooks and other supplies.
The organization gives them to about 2,000 children and teenagers in the Montreal area.
Welcome Hall’s mission provides backpacks full of school supplies (Photo: Touria Izri / CTV Montreal)Welcome Hall Mission CEO Sam Watts says they are desperately needed with parents under enormous financial strain right now.
“Money’s being spent on housing, on food, so when that’s all gone at the end of the month, there’s a lot of tough decisions to make,” he said.
Canada’s inflation rate cooled last month thanks to lower gas prices, but food prices rose at the fastest pace in 40 years.
“Inflation … has a disproportionate impact on people with lower incomes,” Watts said.
Watts says Welcome Hall’s clientele is changing.
“I think the main difference has been the number of working families who are on the cusp and need a little help,” he said.
With a provincial election in October, Watts wants candidates to come up with long-term plans to tackle poverty.
“We have to do something collectively,” he said. “One of the questions I have is, ‘Why do we have to do this event? Why is it necessary? Why don’t public schools provide students with what it takes to equip themselves at an equivalent level?”