BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The Lacombe Food Bank is very thankful to the community for their outpouring of response during the holiday season, and staff is also looking to be in good shape for the upcoming months.
“The community response was just amazing,” said Executive Director Millie Snow.
“We have so much food now that we made it through Christmas and hopefully even have enough to get through January and February, into March.”
Snow said that nearly each day in December, people or groups called the food bank to let them know about donations of food or money that they had collected on behalf of the food bank.
She said they received many vehicle-full loads of food and several donations of money, all of which contributed to a very successful December. As well, special fundraisers or events from local groups, such as the Lacombe Flying Club, who brought over $10,000 to the Lacombe Food Bank, made a large contribution to the organization’s ability to provide for those in need over the holiday season.
According to staff, over 150 food hampers were made in November, and they were looking to be on track for even higher numbers in December.
As well, staff reported a higher general use of people coming in for food bank or clothing store services, noting the high need for a shelter within the City.
“There was definitely an increase in our use numbers for December. This year, we see that we have quite a few more single people who came through to use our services. People have needed everything we can offer,” Snow said.
“However, we’ve had more people in general. We have people on the streets in Lacombe, even though people might not necessarily be aware of that. We had people coming in for blankets and clothes who are sleeping in their cars or on friends’ couches.
“Somebody came in a while ago and asked us if we have a soup kitchen in Lacombe. We have some places that offer meals, but we have people who come in nearly every day for something to eat but they don’t have anywhere to store more food. People can come here for food, but people are also lacking places to sleep at night.”
The staff at the Lacombe Food Bank noted they had received plenty of monetary donations and were happy to be able to buy fresh produce and dairy for their stock.
As well, they reported many people donated turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce and other ‘holiday foods’ so the Christmas hampers were stuffed with both everyday goods and something special for a holiday meal.
It is common knowledge that food banks tend to see higher usage in December, but citizens are encouraged to remember that through February and March, donations seem to dry up a little.
Staff and volunteers at the Lacombe Food Bank thank the community for their support, and encourage the continued support through the rest of the year to keep the service available.