Airdrie Food Bank sees demand increase
By: Sara Wilson
| Posted: Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:43 am
In the first quarter of 2014, the Airdrie Food Bank saw an increase in the need for regular hampers - up 19 per cent from 2013 – as well as in the number of people they served. The number of adults went up 24 per cent and children up and additional 30 per cent.
The newly released statistics come as National Hunger Awareness Week kicked off on May 5 to 9, a week where food banks throughout Canada raise awareness for food collection programs.
As of March 31, the Airdrie Food Bank provided: 353 hampers to 550 adults and 490 children. Specifically, that breaks down to the following; 320 regular hampers providing seven to 10 days worth of food (average of 27 families per week); two Best Beginning food hampers for expectant mothers; 30 formula and/or milk hampers for new mothers; bread and extras to 1,167 families (average of 97 families each week); 1,173 breakfasts to elementary school students (aged five to 10) through the RJ Hawkey Breakfast Program and 11,482 emergency Snack Attack shelf items to 18 school programs during the 2013/2014 school year.
“The price of everything has gone up,” said Lori McRitchie, executive director of the Airdrie Food Bank.
“The cost of living continues to rise in Airdrie and more people are finding it harder to pay for food and utilities.”
The Airdrie Food Bank released its statistics in the hopes that the numbers will showcase the need for continued donations from the community.
“Hunger is real and there are people (in this community) that really struggle,” she said.
The food bank’s 2013 year-end statistics were also released this week, which showed 1,350 hampers were handed out to 1,976 adults and 1,753 children.
Those figures break down to: 1,196 hampers providing seven to 10 days worth of food (average of 25 families per week); 18 Best Beginning food hampers for expectant mothers; 128 formula and/or milk hampers for new mothers; 54 emergency packs (distributed by the Airdrie Food Bank and other local agencies); bread and extras to 3,720 families (average of 78 families each week); 4,599 breakfasts to elementary school students through the RJ Hawkey Breakfast Program and 12,862 emergency Snack Attack shelf items to 18 school programs during the 2012/2013 school year.
According to the food bank, in 2013 as part of the flood relief efforts the organization gave food donations and financial support to the following: Morley - 5,982 pounds (lbs), The Siksika Nation - 1,120 lbs, the Community Kitchen Program of Calgary - 560 lbs, NeighbourLink Calgary - 140 lbs, The Canmore Food Bank - $2,500 from Empty Bowls Emergency Relief Day, The Cochrane Food Bank - $2,000 from Empty Bowls Emergency Relief Day and The Salvation Army in High River - $15,000 from Balzac Barn Dance.
“Our shelves are low,” McRitchie said. “We get a lot of donations around Christmas time, but summer is when we receive the least amount of donations. We need everything from peanut butter, jam, tuna to the basics like flour.”
Visit the Airdrie Food Bank’s website to view their most needed items at www.airdriefoodbank.ca