The St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village isn’t normally open on weekends but today is a special exception as the organization conducts its annual food drive.
The collective effort of teams of volunteer drivers co-ordinated by the Red Willow Church will cover the city starting at noon as they pick up the brown bags of non-perishable food that people leave on their doorsteps. The bags were inserted into Wednesday’s edition of the Gazette.
According to executive director Suzan Krecsy, the anticipated influx of donations comes at just the right time. September is the time of year when she starts to feel like Old Mother Hubbard.
“We are up to almost 100 families this month and we still have a couple of weeks left,” she said of families that rely on the food bank’s services. “It’s just been incredibly busy with new people dropping in.”
To date the food bank has helped roughly 1,200 families. The agency served 1,700 all of last year.
Krecsy said the main concern of new clients is they don’t have places to live and they just can’t pay the bills even if they have steady work.
“There are lots of unstably housed, lots facing eviction … it’s the new families that are underemployed. Some of the issues that we’re starting to face now [involve] the working poor who don’t have any benefits,” she said.
“They’re having difficulty getting the prescription meds. That seems to be a big issue that we’re looking into. We have to get some help from the different government levels to see if we can address that. Right now people are underemployed. Jobs are out there but they’re just not really plentiful. If they do get them, they’re part-time.”
Krecsy’s goal for the drive is to collect 22,680 kilograms (50,000 lbs.). Last year’s drive collected only about 18,000 kg (40,000 lbs).
The most needed items include peanut butter, powdered milk, rice, pudding, sugar and canned fruit, fish and meat. People can also drop off their donations at the city’s fire stations and grocery stores. If your bag doesn’t get picked up today, please call 780-459-0599 to arrange pickup the following week.