June 24th, 2024

Demand increasing for food banks as holiday season approaches

By Lethbridge Herald on November 9, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Operations lead Darren Babin stocks the shelves Wednesday, making sure everything is ready for the winter months ahead at the Lethbridge Food Bank.

Ry Clarke – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Lethbridge Curling Club has donated over $10,000 to the Lethbridge Food Bank and the Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge through fundraising from the 2022 Tim Horton’s Brier back in March. 

Raising money through the 50/50 competition the curling club wanted to give back to the community through organizations that help so many in the city.

“Over $5,400 to each of our food banks,” said Kirk Mearns, general manager of the club. “We always want to make sure that we give back to the community as much as we can. Right now, we felt that the food banks really were the number one person […] You can’t turn on your TV without hearing about what the price of groceries are right now. So many people right now are starting to feel left behind. We care about that, and we want to make sure that people, like the food banks, get the support they need to help support families out there that need a little help.”

Happy to receive the donation, food banks will use the funds to help as they prepare for the winter months. 

“It is something we are desperately in need of. We have seen a large spike in clients at the Food Bank,” said Mac Nichol, executive director of the Lethbridge Food Bank. “Now with Christmas coming it is not slowing down. With high utility bills, and other things we are seeing a lot of our clients need our services a lot more than we anticipated. Funds like this go a long way for us. We can turn this into food purchasing at three times the amount. Which will really help us make sure our Christmas hampers are what they need to be.”

Seeing increased use in services, food banks are hoping to help all that rely on them. “We started to see food inflation prices happen around March, which was when we really started to see it directly with more clients coming in,” said Nichol. “Last month alone we saw over 90 families that were accessing the hamper program more than last year. […] It is hard because food banks get pinched on both sides. We have more clients that need the access to the program, but then we need to go buy more food and that also costs a lot more. We are really starting to see a lot of those issues coming to the forefront of our program.”

Donations are always appreciated at both locations, with the Food Bank suggesting cash or non-perishables as the best options for contributions. 

“Cash is great because we can leverage it as a food bank. We have a lot of community partners with grocery stores that let us purchase a pallet and get a pallet. But if you do want to donate food directly, we are always looking for things like peanut butter, dried pasta, canned soup, anything that has a longer lasting shelf life goes a long way for us.”

With inflation tightening the belts of many consumers, food banks are still looking to continue as numbers increase. 

“I’m sure a lot of our donors are being put in positions where they need to take care of themselves a little bit more than they normally did. I think that is why we are seeing a little bit of a decline,” said Nichol. “But when these (donations) come up out of the blue on us they go a long way. It makes our lives a lot easier to try and make sure that we can keep our programming going. This is one pretty significant donation.”

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