Food bank delivers hampers of hope to neighbourhoods across the city

Edmonton Food Bank uses more than 40 depots to distribute the essentials to thousands of people across the city.

'There's poverty everywhere'

Rev. Ruth Sesink Bott helps out with weekly food bank hamper deliveries at St. Mary's Anglican Church. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

As Lauralee Armstrong waits for the food bank truck, she keeps herself busy stuffing laundry detergent pods into plastic baggies.

"There's poverty everywhere for sure. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there. You could have a house and still not be able to afford daily essential things," she said.

Each week the 27-year-old volunteer meets the truck at St. Mary's Anglican Church in Highlands, unloads the hampers and meets the people coming to collect them.

The crew of CBC TV's Our Edmonton spends some time at St. Mary's Anglican Church, one of more than 40 food bank depots in Edmonton. 3:06

"I'm a mom of two little boys my three year old has autism," Armstrong said. "So we're very busy. I go to school and I work full time. But I get to take off Tuesday mornings to come here."

The church is just one stop of more than 40 for the food bank delivery trucks as they travel to depots housed in churches and community centres across Edmonton.

Lauralee Armstrong offers beverages to people waiting at St. Mary's for their food hampers. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Armstrong has been a member of the congregation at St. Mary's since she was eight years old.

"I don't necessarily attend church every week, but I help out in the ways that I can and that is important to me."

Here Armstrong meets neighbours like Zaccheus Audy who has notice the price of food going up.

"Especially the price of vegetables. Meat is way up; it's twice as high as it was before," said the musician who relies on the food bank from time to time.

"Once a month, or once every two months, whenever I need it. I try not to take advantage of it cause other people need it too."

Audy helps Armstrong carrier the cardboard boxes in and place them on tables for others to collect.

Rev. Ruth Sesink Bott warmly greets people as she discreetly checks off names, many of whom are regulars.

Even though some clients own their own home in what's considered to be an well-off part of the city, they have trouble paying their bills.

Zaccheus Audy lives in the Highlands neighbourhood and relies on the Edmonton Food Bank from time to time. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

Sesink Bott relied on the food bank herself as a student and said having her church as one of the food bank's depots keeps her plugged in.

"It keeps me honest too. It keeps me connected. It keeps me from forgetting my own journey."

According to the food bank, more than 58,000 Edmontonians received a food hamper at least once this year.

You can see more from the Edmonton Food Bank in this week's edition of Our Edmonton Saturday at 9 a.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and Monday at 11 a.m. on CBC TV.
A map at the Edmonton Food Bank shows all the depots around the city. (Edmonton Food Bank)