As Food Banks Alberta prepares to support more Albertans this holiday, the message is clear: “We are open, we are safe, and we are ready to welcome you whether you want to give or receive support,” said Arianna Scott, Senior Project Manager for Food Banks Alberta. “People have enough on their plates these days, so we don’t want anyone to worry about how they are going to feed themselves or their families.”
Scott said they are seeing an increase in new clients accessing the food banks because of circumstances related to COVID-19. They are also anticipating a significant increase in need starting this holiday season and extending into the tax season of 2021.
“The pandemic has affected Albertans in different ways, but we have noticed many of our new clients were unaware they could access their local food bank,” said Scott. “These are people who have mortgage and car payments who need to prioritize those payments, but may not be left with much else to be able to put food on the table. Also, with CERB running out, we are also seeing those affected by job loss in industries like energy, tourism and hospitality looking for places to get extra help.”
In 2019, over 89,821 Albertans accessed the food bank monthly, with over 13,614 being visits to rural food banks. Food Banks Alberta and its members are preparing for a significant increase in these numbers in 2020.
Scott also noted they are seeing an outpouring of #AlbertaStrong style community support. From individuals to radio stations to real estate firms to sports teams; Albertans are uniting to create their own community donation drives.
“We see you, we thank you and we encourage you to keep it up,” she said.
Food banks provide a variety of hampers to Albertans in need, including everything from fresh produce (when available), dried goods and household essentials like toilet paper, feminine hygiene items, diapers, and other baby related items. Hampers are accessed by calling a local food bank, and arranging assistance. Food bank assessment and identification requirements vary by location.
Food Banks Alberta is the provincial association of 98 food banks in Alberta.
Find your local food bank through our interactive map or online directory at: www.foodbanksalberta.ca/open
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