By Lethbridge Herald on June 14, 2020.
Lethbridge’s annual city-wide food drive, Target Hunger, was staged over the weekend, where both Lethbridge Food Bank and Interfaith Food Bank encouraged the community to donate non-perishable food items for at-risk community members.
“Target Hunger is a city-wide food drive that happens every year to benefit the local food banks, and it has happened for many years,” says Maral Kiani Tari, Executive Director of Lethbridge Food Bank.
“People may remember it as the yellow bags that were delivered to households and then people would fill them up and our volunteers would sign up on routes to bring those donations into the local food banks.”
This year’s Target Hunger campaign looked different, as food banks phased out the yellow bags for environmental purposes, and encouraged donors to drop off or mark donations at their homes.
“This year was a little different as we were phasing out the yellow bags — that decision was made prior to COVID — and we basically encouraged the community to set out their donations, mark it with a ‘TH’ for our volunteers to pick them up,” says Kiani Tari. “We just wanted to get rid of that single-use plastic as well as to encourage the community to use their own resources to be able to donate to us.”
With the COVID pandemic factored in, this year’s donations were slower than previous years where vehicles lined up to donate large amounts of food. Grateful for the donation, both food banks hope that if people forgot because there was no yellow bags, or they didn’t have time, that donation bins throughout the city are still available for Target Hunger.
“The goal is 100,000 pounds of food donated between the two local food banks, and last year we brought in 42,000 pounds of food so the goal has always been 100,000, considering the population of Lethbridge,” says Kiani Tari.
“It has been a little slower, normally we are quite busy with a lot of drivers coming through and dropping off bags, we have had drivers come through, however, there isn’t a lot of donations in their vehicles, but we are hoping that this will help people to continue to donate to our local food banks. We do have bins at all local grocery stores, so if anyone forgot to put their donations out for the weekend, or wasn’t aware of Target Hunger, we really encourage them to donate in those places.”
When COVID-19 first shut down the country, both food banks saw an immediate increase in clients, but it died off once government financial support began. Although numbers are stable now, the fear for food banks in Lethbridge as well as the rest of the country is when the financial support stops.
“At the start of COVID, our client numbers did go up, but province-wise, numbers in food banks are actually lower and that is mainly due to the financial supports that individuals are receiving right now,” says Kiani Tari. “But we are really anticipating that numbers will go up drastically, especially in the fall when all the government support will be gone. We are anticipating a lot of families to come through our doors as well as those who aren’t normally a food bank client.”
Lethbridge Food Bank and Interfaith Food Bank would like to thank all of the community members who participated in the Target Hunger campaign and encourages the community to continue to donate. For more information on drop-off donation locations, or to make a monetary donation, visit lethbridgefoodbank.ca or interfaithfoodbank.ca.
Follow @GBobinecHerald on Twitter