June 18th, 2024

Grocery chain chips in for food banks with holiday drive


By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 14, 2022.

This holiday season food banks across Canada have been experiencing higher volumes of use, and with the cost of living and inflation the aid provided has been in high demand.

To help with the influx, Real Canadian Superstore has launched its annual Holiday Food Drive, running until Dec. 24, where local shoppers can help give back to the Lethbridge Food Bank Society or Interfaith Food Bank Society, helping restock resources in time for everyone to get what they need when it comes to putting food on the table.

“Starting from the beginning of the month, up until the 24th of December we run our Holiday Food Drive, which started back in 2008,” said Josh Van Riper, store manager for Real Canadian Superstore Lethbridge. “This time of year, food banks see an increase in people using the service […] a lot of people, they might not use the food bank at all throughout the year. But come the holiday time, they need that extra little push to help them out. With us being a big part of the community, we want to be able to help with the spike food banks see this time of year.”

According to the Food Banks Canada hungercount (foodbankscanada.ca/hungercount), there were over 1.4 million visits to food banks across Canada in 2022, with over 100 thousand visits in Alberta.

“It is important for people in the community to be able to get fed. We want to do everything in our power to be able to help,” said Riper. “Everyone has things happen at different points in their life. Someone who might not need the service now, might in a couple months. The food banks and their partners want to be there to help them when they need it.”

Looking to help out with increasing numbers, Superstore will be accepting donations in-store at 3515 Mayor Magrath Dr S. with 100 per cent of donations going back to the food banks.

“We accept physical donations year-round. The main point of this campaign is we actively ask for donations at the till when you check out. We do that in two ways, you can either round up your total to the nearest dollar and that extra amount gets donated. Or we also have a flat $2 donation request that we would ask,” said Riper. “The monetary donations for the food banks help them in different ways than the physical ones do. If they have a gap in a certain item, they can purchase that, and there is a lot of logistics that go into getting the items in and getting them distributed, so it helps with that too.”

Hoping to help with demand and give back to the community, Superstore’s Food Drive will help restock the shelves so food banks can help all who come to them.

“Every little bit helps. Some people might feel $1 is not enough. But it all adds up,” said Riper. “Food banks are seeing an increase year-over-year, and any little bit goes a long way. We are a big part of this community and we want to be able to provide that awareness and gateway for people to be able to donate.”

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