Loblaw’s Extra Helping Food Drive to raise needed supplies for food bank
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 11:33 am
Results from the January and February stats gathered by the Airdrie Food Bank indicate use of the service is up by 28 per cent for regular food hampers and 34 per cent for individuals served.
“I’ve never seen the numbers this high,” said Airdrie Food Bank Executive Director Lori McRitchie.
She added she doesn’t know for sure why the increase occurred but suspects it might have something to do with the booming economy in Alberta and the harsh winter we had this year.
“When there were snow storms people weren’t able to get to work,” she said, adding the increases in gas and food costs also likely contributed. “As soon as you get those circumstances people have to make a choice; buy food or pays the bills.”
With this growing need for food, managers of the Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills in Airdrie are hoping to help fill the shelves of the food bank with the Extra Helping Food Drive, which runs in the store from April 3 to 24.
“As Canada’s largest grocery retailer, we’re committed to helping fight hunger in communities across the country,” said Peggy Hornell, Loblaw Companies Ltd. senior director of community investment, in a press release. “Hunger continues to be a challenge across the country, and we are encouraging our customers to donate whatever they can – cash or non-perishable food items – so we can make a real difference in the lives of those in need.”
“We are all neighbours helping neighbours,” McRitchie said. “Everyone can help. By giving to businesses that support their community, it really helps everyone.”
She said she is grateful to everyone that helps support the food bank and offers her heartfelt thanks.
“The food bank belongs to the community,” McRitchie said.
“It’s not us doing the good work, it’s (the community).”
The food drive in Airdrie is easy to participate in, simply purchase or bring a nutritious, non-perishable food item and drop it off at the donation bin located in Real Canadian Superstore or No Frills, or make a cash donation at the check-out.
The stores have made it even easier for shoppers by labeling the food banks most needed items with the Extra Helping logo on the shelves beside the price label.
A full list of needed items can be found on the food bank’s website at airdriefoodbank.com/whatsneeded
McRitchie said the food bank is entering the time of the year where donations are at the lowest. She said 80 per cent of donations are received in December and it’s up to the food bank staff to use those resources as best they can.
“For the rest of the year people still need our support,” she said.
“The need remains the same or increases but the food stocks are down.”
In 2013, the organization provided 1,350 hampers, bread and extras to 3,720 families, 4,599 breakfasts to students through the R.J. Hawkey Breakfast Program, and 12,862 emergency “snack attack” shelf items to 18 school programs.
McRitchie said the numbers show there is an increase in the number of families with children that are accessing the food bank. Of the 1,350 hampers given out, 53 per cent went to providing food for adults and 47 per cent for children.