Food drive this Saturday
Please fill grocery bag inside today's edition
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012 06:00 am
Annual Food Drive
Saturday, Sept. 15
Please put bags out on the front step by noon
Any grocery bag can be used for donations.
If donation is not picked up call the food bank at 459-0599 and a volunteer will be dispatched.
Donations can also be taken to any fire hall or grocery store with a collection box.
It’s the one time of year when citizens do noble community service without even leaving their front steps.
The annual food drive takes place on Saturday and it serves an ever-growing number of St. Albert families. Last year, the one-day event brought in only 19,000 kilograms of food, compared to almost 24,000 kg the year before.
With the agency routinely handing out an average of about 10,000 kg every month, it is easy to get the impression that the food bank itself is living paycheque to paycheque like so many people at the poverty level.
“Right now, we’ve got about three months’ worth of food,” said Suzan Krecsy, executive director of the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village, mentioning that September is just the start of the busy season that lasts until Easter. “Things are starting to pick up.”
Apparently, she enjoyed a quieter summer but last month was hit with an unexpected whammy.
“We’ve had 50 new families come on since the beginning of August,” she explained. “It’s a little bit unsettling to see that many new families coming on. I’m not really sure what the reason is.”
Last August, only 12 new families signed up as clients.
She speculated that most of it is because people only have part-time jobs and can’t make ends meet. To date, more than 4,500 individuals have been assisted in the first eight months of this year, a lower number comparatively speaking than 2011.
Although that comes as a bit of a shock, she said that this year has actually been very progressive with more and more families leaving the roster than in previous years.
“We’ve been consistently going down every month. We’ve been down about 20 families per month on average from last year, which is really good.”
She gives lots of credit for that to Fay Lucy, the community liaison worker who helps clients sort out their often-multifaceted problems and cut through red tape to get access the social support mechanisms throughout the community.
Volunteers are still needed for the Saturday drive. People can call Dayle Swanston with the Red Willow Community Church at 780-458-4644 to join the roaming crews who pick up the donations, or Krecsy herself at 780-459-0599 to help receive and sort the incoming donations at the food bank.
Krecsy hopes to bring in 23,000 kg (50,000 pounds) of food during the drive. She said that she could always count on the generosity of St. Albert to save the day.
What to put in the bag
The list of most needed non-perishable food items includes:
• canned goods (soup, meat, fish, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables, especially tomato products)
• dry goods (soup mixes, packages of pasta, rice, oatmeal, quinoa and grains)
• boxes of cereal
• powdered milk
• fruit and vegetable juices
• peanut butter and similar substitutes
• baby food and formula