The Airdrie Food Bank (AFB) is celebrating its most successful food drive, bringing in over 60,000 pounds of food on Sept. 16.
In contrast, last year’s food drive collected 45,771 pounds of food.
With a record number of food collected as of mid-day Saturday, the shelves are looking much more stocked than they were a month ago.
AFB hasn’t released official numbers yet, as they will continue collecting donations from grocery stores and anyone who’s donation bag was missed during the food drive.
For the first time, AFB included information on the donation bag tags on how to support the food bank financially, and it expects a good result from that as well, says AFB’s events, marketing and communications manager Christine Taylor.
“We received a ton of money that way, we just don't have the number quite yet,” said Taylor.
She noted that the food bank usually receives a lot of donations at Christmas as well, but this food drive has put them in good shape for the upcoming holiday season.
“It may seem like a lot of food,” Taylor said. “Of course, it sounds like a tremendous amount of food, but that food needs to last us until next spring.”
From July 2022 to June 2023, the food bank fed 55 per cent more people, which means it is going through food quicker than ever.
It also saw 620 new families in the past year, in other words people who never utilized the food bank before this year.
Taylor said that number isn’t expected to go down any time soon, especially with the current outlook of the economy.
“What we're seeing is more two-income families than ever before,” Taylor said. “It's not the stereotypical person that one thinks of or assumes is in need of food. It is really hard-working families who just can't make ends meet.”
The combined cost of housing, rent, mortgages, power, and electricity are weighing on families before they even get to their grocery bills.
“It used to be enough but it's just not anymore,” Taylor said. “We're here to support anyone that needs it in our community.”
Fortunately, due to the food drive, a semi truck load of food was taken to AFB’s offsite location to sort, and their onsite warehouse now has big watermelon boxes full of food on its shelves.
“Last week when I left work, it was empty, and this week we now have so much food to sort and it's just wonderful,” Taylor said. “The one thing about Airdrie that is so different from anywhere else I've lived, is that it may be a city but it has a small town feel, and the people here really support our community and the food bank.”
AFB is a community-owned and operated food bank, and Taylor said they do their best to distribute the food and donations they receive.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue and know that the holiday season looks a lot brighter for people,” Taylor said.
She thanked Airdrie’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the families who helped organize and host the food drive. As well as several other local businesses for getting involved and helping out.
“People want to know how the whole community supported us– it's individuals and it's businesses,” Taylor said. “And it really is a can that can make a difference. One bag of food doesn't seem like much but when you put it together, we have over 60,000 pounds of food.”