Calgary has a reputation for being one of the most economically prosperous and affluent cities in Canada. In spite of this perception, over 10% of the people living in Calgary accessed the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank at least once last year. Food insecurity can affect anyone for any number of reasons. Some families face a daily struggle to make ends meet, while many others don’t have the resources to weather an unexpected job loss, a prolonged illness, or emergency household expenses. The widespread impact of the floods this year exemplified the challenges that an emergency can create. While the water has long since receded, the impact continues to strain resources as thousands struggle to get back on their feet.
It is a common misconception that the food bank provides a revolving grocery-store door for those who struggle to get enough to eat, creating an ongoing dependency on the program. In reality, over 81% of those who accessed the food bank last year in Calgary did so three or less times during the year. Far from a revolving door system, the Calgary food bank offers emergency food: a hamper is designed to create a week’s worth of meals, and requires a minimum 30 day waiting period between hampers. It is also important to know that 43% of the people fed by the food bank are children – this adds up to close to 60,000 local children served in the last year alone.
One of the things I love about Calgary is its strong spirit of volunteerism, and the food bank is an awesome example of the dedication and value of our community volunteers. It takes the daily support of over 100 volunteers to keep the food bank running smoothly. With the support of over 10,000 people volunteering their time last year, the food bank is able to continue to keep labour costs minimal and its resources directed at people in need.
As the holiday season approaches, so does a time of year where food excess tends to reach an all-time high for many of us. Food is frequently the centerpiece of our holiday celebrations and can create added pressure and stress for those struggling day-to-day to provide. Please consider making a small donation to make the upcoming holiday meals as special for someone else as they are for you.
Want to help? Financial donations are a key part of helping the food bank run effectively. In order to ensure that each hamper contains a minimum number of essential items, the food bank must purchase key items when donations are low and need is high.
You can also donate any of the following non-perishable food items in the bins at your local Co-op, Safeway, Sobeys, or Superstore. Perishable donations (fresh foods) along with non-perishable items can also be brought to the main warehouse at 5000 11th Street SE in Loading Bay #3 (ring the bell at the top of the stairs).
Thanksgiving Wish List:
- Canned green vegetables (peas, green beans)
- Canned proteins (tuna, chicken, salon, etc.)
- Boxed stuffing mixes
- Cranberry juices and/or sauces and jellies
- Small bags or boxes of rice, couscous, and quinoa
Day-to Day Most Needed Items:
- Baby diapers sizes 3, 4, 5 and 6
- Baby formula with iron, baby food (jars)
- Pet food
- Fruit juice (1 litre)
- Pasta & pasta sauce
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Beans & canned vegetables
- Canned Fish & canned meat
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Tomatoes
- Pull-top meals (canned pasta, stews) and soups
- Canned or dry lentils
- Toiletries (toilet paper, tissue, toothpaste, etc.)
Gluten-free items are greatly appreciated and donations may include:
- Pancake mix
- Biscuit Mix
- Corn pasta