Record numbers seek help from Edmonton Food Bank
'A perfect storm' happening to the Edmonton Food Bank as thousands more seek help, donations drop
A record number of people are coming into the Edmonton Food Bank for help.
Since December, an average of 20,000 people a month have been coming in for food hampers, executive director Marjorie Bencz said Thursday.
"Most months, we're seeing at least 5,000 more people needing hamper programs than we saw the year before," she said.
"Our food coming into our organization in July, August, September and now also in October has been lower than the year before," Bencz said. "So we've got this perfect storm happening to us."
In an effort to stretch donations and help as many people as possible, the food bank has been forced to buy more food.
"We've been buying significantly more food. We've purchased something like $300,000 to $400,000 more already this year than we did in all of last year," said Bencz.
By the end of August last year, they had spent $300,000 on food. By August 2016, spending had more than doubled to $665,000.
This year has also been a challenging one for volunteers, staff and clients who are all feeling the stress she said, with no end in sight.
"It looks like the economy is going to be in this situation for a while," Bencz said. "And again, lots of competition for donor dollars and lots of other outside factors that have created this situation, where a lot of pressure has been placed on Edmonton's food bank.
Planning is underway for three major campaigns heading into the Christmas holiday season, including the CBC Turkey Drive, said Bencz.
People can also help by volunteering.