Calgary Food Bank hits busy season
Organization grapples with increase of clients
It’s that time of year again — a time when the Calgary Food Bank receives 70 per cent of its donations.
“We hit Thanksgiving and people start thinking of food banks and food and family. This is when they want to give,” said Kathryn Sim, communication and marketing coordinator for the Calgary Food Bank.
The trend is typical across Canada for a surge in people accessing the food bank during the winter and holiday season.
While there is often a preconceived notion that this is because of Christmas spending, Sim said this is not the case.
“Our customers aren’t spending $1,000 on gifts and then coming for food. I don’t think people have ever thought through that argument. It makes no sense at all in the parameters of what we’re doing.”
Sim explains that the increase in numbers is probably due to the drop in temperature, which equals a spike in heat and gas bills.
As well, there are a higher number of school fees during the fall and winter months, which could also account for the increase in people coming through the doors.
Forty per cent of clients are in Canada are children. Our number is 43 per cent,” Sim said.
While the number of people visiting the Calgary Food Bank increases in winter, Sim explained that the volume of donations they receive is almost too much for them to handle. “We’re trying to get this food out the door. We send it throughout Alberta,” she said.
The holidays are the time when most volunteer agencies or families try to raise funds or organize food drives, and then pass it off to the Calgary Food Bank.
“We do redirect energy when we can,” Sim stated, explaining that they try to encourage people to organize events throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
Although the food bank is struggling to keep up with the overwhelming number of donations coming in, Sim said there are certain things they are lacking. “What we never get enough of is protein in general – every hamper is dairy.”
“A lot of people don’t know that we take perishable food,” she added. Perishable items must be dropped off at their warehouse or one of the food bank events at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.
People are encouraged think of the food bank while they are doing their shopping, and make donations on their way out.
“If people wanna donate a turkey, that’s the place to do it,” Sim said.