Food bank ready for annual drive
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 06:00 am
Food Bank Wish List
The following items are most in need, according to the St. Albert Food Bank’s website:
• Canned tomatoes
• Canned meats/fish
• Oatmeal and instant breakfast oatmeal
• Canned and powdered milk
• Hamburger Helper
• Fruit and pudding cups
• Canned vegetables
• Canned and dry soups
• Canned fruit
• Baby formula
• Diapers (all sizes)
• Personal care items
• Jam and peanut butter
• Granola bars
• Kraft Dinner
• Tomato paste
• Pancake mix and syrup
• Pasta sauce
The countdown is on. There are only 10 days until all city residents are asked to step up for the annual food drive and organizers are hoping for a huge response.
“Even if folks put in five pounds of food per bag, that’s 100,000 pounds of food!” said a hopeful Suzan Krecsy, the executive director at the St. Albert Food Bank.
She admitted that the food stocks always get pretty low on the centre’s voluminous shelves around this time of year. They’re still managing to cope, despite its ever-expanding client list.
“It’s kind of funny but with the increase in new families coming in, we’re still holding where we were last year,” she explained.
Between 19 and 25 new families receive help from the food bank and community village every month. In August alone there were 120 families that sought help.
Krecsy is able to stem the tide thanks to community liaison worker Fay Lucy. For a few years now, Lucy has been diligent in getting people, sometimes with multifaceted social problems, to receive the best service from various community agencies and the city. With her efforts, many families have successfully transitioned to becoming ex-clients of the food bank.
Krecsy has seen the results happen almost immediately as people come in for their consultations.
“Quickly, they calm down. They come in here and they’re pretty overwhelmed … so she’ll sit down with them, breaking down their priorities. They just go out of here with a smile on their faces. Knowing about the other resources in the city is so important as well because we have so many outstanding support services out there,” she said, later adding, “Fay has her finger on the pulse of over 20 agencies. She can get that information out to them in no time.”
While people may come and go, some things, she says, never change.
“It’s really tough at this time of year. The issues still remain: affordable housing, folks losing their jobs or just moving in from other provinces and they have a job but it doesn’t pay for the next couple of weeks … end of August and the beginning of September are always very busy because of school. That’s no different this year. That part is always the same.”
That’s why the food drive is held at this time of year. There’s a natural lull in donations that is coupled with a natural increase in demand.
The food drive takes place on Saturday, Sept. 21. On that day, local residents are encouraged to put non-perishable food items in the brown paper bags delivered in today’s Gazette. The bags need to be put out on people’s front steps by 12 noon. That’s when a squadron of volunteers will spread out across the city to collect the donations and bring them in for sorting to the food bank itself.
Last year, more than 24,000 kilograms were donated, besting the 2011 figure by 5,000 kilograms. This year, Krecsy wants to up the ante, and is asking people to dig a little deeper and help her reach a total donation of 25,000 kilograms. She said she could always count on the generosity of St. Albert to save the day.
“This city is second to none when it comes to rallying behind us,” she said.
She also added that she really appreciates the longstanding support that the St. Albert Gazette has provided over the years.
Volunteers are still needed at the food bank on the day of the drive and beyond. Interested parties can contact the centre’s volunteer co-ordinator at 780-722-8007 or via email at email@example.com.
Call the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village at 780-459-0599 for other ways to help or to receive help. The centre can also be found on the Internet at www.stalbertfb.com.
The food bank is located at #30, 50 Bellerose Dr. next to Canadian Tire.