Too many people without enough food

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November 24, 2016 12:00 AM

BARE CUPBOARDS The Salvation Army Food Bank has been feeling the pressure of the low economy, with the number of families served now doubled from this time last year. FILE PHOTO

Sally Ann: 'Need has doubled over last year'

The strain on local food provision services has been getting worse with the ever-lagging economy and is still showing no sign of abating.
The Salvation Army Food Bank is seeing double the amount of people looking for food compared to this time last year, and is in need of donations more than ever. 
“Yes, our numbers in the last year have almost doubled,” confirmed Shannon Weinberger, head of the Salvation Army Food Bank.
“But because of the way the situation is right now, our numbers we see are at least one new client a day, but usually it’s about two that we’ve never seen before; we definitely are low on donations compared to where we usually are this time of year and we’re not getting as many donations as we normally do.”
More specifically, the food bank has been serving nearly 130 families a month this year, compared to last year’s average of 63 families.
Weinberger agreed the economy has been the major factor in increased usage, with the majority of clients still working or receiving employment insurance, and many people working two or more jobs but still not making ends meet.
The holiday season is also creeping up, which causes added pressure on the food bank’s resources, and Weinberger said organizers are in the middle of taking applications for Christmas food hampers.
Christmas hampers are a way for the food bank to offer extra support to those in need so they can enjoy a better Christmas, and anyone who’s in such a position can apply tomorrow morning or next Wednesday at 9 a.m. at 2302 53 ave.
The Salvation Army Food Bank can reach out to the Alberta Food Bank in case of emergency, but luckily Weinberger said the situation hasn’t become quite that dire yet.
“We usually reach out to the community and the community is really amazing at making sure we have what we need—there are other communities that aren’t quite able to do that still, so we have yet to have to reach out to Alberta food banks and ask for help,” she said.
Another statistic Weinberger offered was 62 per cent of the organization’s clients are children, so it came up with the Kids Kits program in partnership with the Lloydminster Public School division.
The food bank is providing 50 bags of child-friendly food items to students LPSD staff identified as at-risk, for them to bring home so they can have more to eat throughout the weekends.
Some of the items organizers are looking for donations of for Kids Kits are instant oatmeal, Kraft Dinner, individual ravioli cups, juice boxes, fruit snacks and granola bars.
“The school division has identified the kids, we drop off that many bags of food at each of the elementary schools in town, so the 50 is split up between five of the elementary schools right now, and they’re in nice non-identifying bags the teachers can just pop into a backpack on Friday afternoon,” said Weinberger.
Anyone looking to help can drop off donations at 2302 - 53 Ave.

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