By Jensen, Randy on June 18, 2020.
The citywide Target Hunger campaign held Saturday collected more than 17,000 pounds of food to help restock the shelves at Interfaith and Lethbridge Food Banks. Financial contributions were also accepted, bringing the final value from Lethbridge residents to almost $47,000.
While food donations are down substantially from last year (42,000 in 2019), organizers note the community has been generous since the beginning of the public health crisis, with many choosing to give safely, online at home.
Donations are still trickling in from individuals who missed getting their bags out in time for pickup, or chose to skip the doorstep pickup in favour of dropping off their donations at the food banks or local grocers this week.
“We’re thankful for everyone who participated by putting a bag out on their doorstep, and are equally grateful to the community volunteers for organizing the event and recruiting the people and resources necessary to complete all of the work on our behalf,” said Maral Kiani Tari, executive director with Lethbridge Food Bank, in a news release. “We couldn’t pull off a food drive of this size without the support of the community and the hundreds of volunteers that pitched in to help.”
“Every year we set a goal of 100,000 pounds, which would equate to one can per person within the city,” added Danielle McIntyre, executive director with Interfaith Food Bank, “however, we knew from the start that Target Hunger would look different this year.”
The current health crisis has caused interruptions in supply chains, workplace closures and limited ability for groups to gather as they normally would.
“Local faith-based groups have always been huge champions of Target Hunger, and while many of these groups have adapted to online connections with their membership, it’s not quite the same. The Lethbridge Public Library Food for Fines program, which normally collects on behalf of Target Hunger, was also unable to go forward this year.”
In an attempt to reduce the use of single-use plastics, organizers encouraged community members to use their own bags/boxes and to mark them with “TH” prior to doorstep pickup on Saturday instead of the yellow bags which were delivered to households previously.
“The yellow bag is such a visual reminder,” says McIntyre. “We’ll be reviewing community feedback to determine our strategies for ensuring community members are aware, and reminded of the opportunity to give for future food drives.”
Community members are encouraged to participate in the Target Hunger 2020 Survey available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5CPTR8L. Links to the survey are also posted on Food Bank and Target Hunger Lethbridge websites and social media pages.
Target Hunger organizers are encouraging community members to continue to bring in bags that may have been missed on pickup, and remind everyone that it is never too late to give. Donations will continue to be accepted at both food banks and local grocery store collection bins. Financial contributions will continue to be accepted online at http://www.targethungerlethbridge.com or on either food bank website.