The shelves are bare

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December 8, 2016 12:00 AM

RUNNING ON EMPTY Salvation Army family services worker, Shannon Weinberger, stands before rows of empty crates that usually have enough food by now to last until May or June. The list of new people on the user lists grows longer each week as the economic downturn takes a toll. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Food bank hoping for a Christmas miracle to fill cupboards

The Salvation Army Food Bank is hoping “last minute Lloyd” or Santa will come to the rescue and restock the shelves with food for Christmas and beyond.
“There’s definitely a huge need at Christmas this year—we are still very low on donations,” said Shannon Weinberger, a family services worker at the Salvation Army Community Church where the food bank is.
“We are definitely low on all kinds of food specifically, just the basics like soups and vegetables.”
Elves from the Realtors Association of Lloydminster and District deposited 150 Christmas turkeys in the food bank on Dec. 6 as part of their annual tradition.
“We really like supporting the food bank,” said association president, Mike Dewing.
“We see the need for it every year and every year we come and see how bare the shelves are at this time of the year.”
This time around, the association donated 25 more turkeys than they did last year through a partnership with Sobeys.
The turkeys are for Christmas hampers that the food bank gives to make sure everyone gets a good Christmas meal for their family.
Most of the frozen birds were brought into the food bank donning Santa hats in the spirit of giving.
“I love that the real estate association does this for us every year,” said Weinberger.
“They bring the majority of turkeys that help us through the Christmas hampers.”
The turkey drive is one of the three annual Christmas initiatives of the regional Realtors including donations for their Gift of Christmas drive that were delivered on Dec. 5.
Their goody bag of gifts included cash donations and gift cards.
Realtors Day for the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign was Dec. 7.
Association volunteers took turns ringing the bell for donations at Sobeys, Real Canadian Superstore, Wal-mart and Safeway—indoors on a cold winter’s day.
“Most of the stores are indoors now, very seldom are they outside,” said Dewing about the location of kettles.
Dewey said there is no doubt the need for donations is even greater than it was last year as the downturn in Alberta’s economy shows little let up in our region.
“I think last year and this year both, the Salvation Army has a big weight on their shoulders—their demand is up every week,” said Dewing.
Dewey noted the association also donates to the Vermilion and Wainwright food banks and to Santa’s Anonymous.
Rita Fleming, a bookkeeper for the Salvation Army, said she has never seen the food bank this low on supplies with Christmas just around the corner.
“We’re just hoping that we get more food in so that we can help more of the needy,” she said.
The food bank priorities’ wish list includes canned vegetable, canned soups, canned meat and fish, 1 litre juice boxes, kids’ lunch snacks, ravioli, cereal and rice.
Cranberry sauce and stuffing are Christmas must-haves currently in short supply.
“Usually, we have so much food on hand and that takes us right until May or June,” said Fleming.
“At this time our shelves are bare.”

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