June 20th, 2024

Interfaith Food Bank makes renewed call for donations

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on February 4, 2023.

Submitted photo Executive director Danielle McIntyre says Interfaith Food Bank putting out an immediate call for perishable items as they work with increasing demand for services.

The Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge is putting out an immediate call for perishable items as they work with increasing demand for services.

After a busy holiday season, the Food Bank is seeing supplies dip to dangerously low levels, saying they are at the point where they are not able to keep up with the need. Community donations are encouraged, with an emphasis on perishable items like produce, breads, meat, and dairy.

“We had a fantastic Christmas season, and are so grateful for the support that we got from the community to make sure that every family was able to go home with the supplies they needed for that special Christmas meal,” said Danielle McIntyre, executive director, Interfaith Food Bank. “But normally during the Christmas season, we are able to build up a big surplus of stock that will last us through the next few months. This year, because our numbers were so high, all of that food is already gone, and I don’t have a mountain anymore.”

Noting the Food Bank uses funds to purchase food for hampers, Interfaith is relying on community donations to help fill its Pick Room.

“We accept financial donations to purchase food, our purchasing is always prioritized by the food that needs to go into the hamper. They are built according to five to seven days of Canada Food Guide recommended servings for the household. We have different sizes for how many people are in the house,” said McIntyre. “But people need to eat more than five to seven days of the month. Our hampers also don’t have a lot of those perishable items, because the hampers are primarily stuff you throw in your cupboards. Families are welcome to our Pick Room where they can pick from perishable items. Primarily like breads and baking, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, dairy, those types of things.”

When finances are tight, Interfaith notes food budgets get the slash in households, displaying a need for services like food banks.

“The food budget is the one budget that is flexible, that is where people will cut. You can’t pay your landlord less for your rent, you can’t not pay you car payment, and you can’t just pay a portion of your utility bill before it becomes a problem. But what you can do is buy less groceries. What stinks about that is it means people aren’t eating well,” said McIntyre. “It’s not just your typical people who are poor all the time. It is everybody right now. That’s one of the things that I think has made it so relevant, we all have to eat every day. We can all identify with how much groceries are costing right now, and understand how hard it must be for some families who just aren’t able to keep enough food on the table.”

Questions regarding donations can be asked by email or phone at: info@interfaithfoodbank.ca or 403-320-8779. Located at 1103 3 Ave N, Interfaith is open for donations Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The one thing that we commit to, no matter what, is making sure that the hamper is full and consistent every month. But that hamper is not everything that we need to be providing,” said McIntyre. “Normally we expect people to kind of forget about us for a little bit because we capitalize on that season of giving. The community was exceptionally generous this year, I don’t want to take away from that. It’s just that right now, it has gone out faster than it is coming in, and we need the support on those perishable items. We will take what we can get, the more the better.”

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