July 20th, 2024

Food bank gets boost from energy company


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 8, 2023.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Sponsor Energy CEO Carolyn Martin speaks to Lethbridge Food Bank executive director Mac Nichols after providing him with a substantial donation Friday at the Food Bank's warehouse.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Food Bank received a substantial donation from an energy retailer who takes a portion of their new customer signup fees and donates it to a charity of their choosing.

Sponsor Energy donated $16,000 to the Lethbridge Food Bank Friday afternoon after tallying up their quarterly signups.

Sponsor Energy CEO, Carolyn Martin spoke to reporters during the cheque presentation ceremony and said the donation did not come from Sponsor Energy but from their new customers in the Lethbridge Area who chose their donation be given to the Lethbridge Food Bank.

“The way our model works is we donate $50 to charity of the customer’s choice on each sign up. This ($16,000) isn’t just a random number that Sponsor Energy decided to donate to the Lethbridge Food Bank, it actually represents $50 worth of single-family Albertans making the switch and deciding to choose the Lethbridge Food Bank as their charity of choice,” said Martin.

For the Food Bank this means a lot as executive director Mac Nichols told media – the $16,000 comes to them very timely.

“Over the last two years we’ve seen direct impact with food inflation and inflation as a whole. At this food bank our client numbers have skyrocketed. From March of 2022 we’ve risen about 47 per cent client use and we’ve seen food banks really being leaned on in this time of need,” said Nichols.

 He said that as much as they are here to provide that service, it does put a strain on their finances and trying to meet those goals.

 “For Sponsor Energy and groups like this to come in and donate like this, especially this time of year, means a lot to us. $16,000 goes a long way for us and we’re really appreciative of these kinds of donations,” said Nichols.

He said they plan to spend around $300,000 per year on food and had already spent that much by July, and therefore this donation meant so much to them.

“One thing food banks get to brag about a little bit is, when we spend this money on food specifically, we get to leverage that dollar value three times, so this $16,000 gets to be spent three times as much on food to make sure that we can meet our hamper goals and meet that client need,” said Nichols.

He said this donation is very timely because during November and December they see a rise in clients, especially in December when financial stress peaks when Christmas meals and gifts for the children are added to the mix.

“Our Christmas hampers are a need for a lot of our families in our community. Many families can get through the whole year, but when you start putting on the pressures of Christmas with gifts for children, higher utility bills and things like that, it does put a lot of strain and they use the food bank to help them get through those months,” said Nichols.

He said during Christmas they see almost 1,000 households needing hampers and having this donation come in November means a lot to them.

Martin said she is happy to be able to make the donation thanks to a massive uptick in signups across the province including Lethbridge and area.

She said the $16,000 is only from their quarterly signups, and she is hoping to be back in January to bring the Lethbridge Food bank an even bigger cheque.

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