The Blackfalds Food Bank Society is looking for volunteers and donations to continue as they plan for not only December, but look ahead into the New Year.
The Town of Blackfalds is a rapidly growing community where more and more people are accessing the services of the food bank each year. The fluctuation in nearby work availability and ample growth among families is causing a rise in the number of users of the food bank.
“Blackfalds is a very fast growing community in Alberta. With that fast growing population, we are seeing more need for the food bank. Typically, we’re seeing single parents with children. Things get tough this time of year, especially with all of the extra expenses of the season,” said Director Karie Ackermann.
“We are also seeing more people that have moved to Blackfalds hoping for work whose jobs didn’t pan out so they are struggling.”
According to www.foodbankscanada.ca, overall food bank usage in the province went up by 2.3% from 2013 – 2014 and a total of 48.2% from 2008- 2014.
Ackermann said that although the dependence is high in December, she would like to remind the community that people struggle all year round. She said it is wonderful to receive so much help this month, but hopes the generosity will continue after the holiday season.
“I think people are in generous donation mode in December. People don’t realize that in June we are just as hungry as December. I wish I could keep that feel of generosity and donations that happen in December all throughout the year.”
She added no matter the amount, the food bank and those who rely on its services are always thankful.
“We’re so thankful for the donations and support that we’ve received. It’s always a necessary thing for us to thank those who have supported us.
“With that message of saying thank you, we want people to know that we are thankful for what we do have, and we understand that people can’t give all the time. However, we’re very fortunate to have a community that tends to be supportive.”
Earlier this year the Blackfalds Food Bank found they were running quite low on volunteer availability with only three people able to give their time, Ackermann said. Currently, the call is out to anyone who is able to lend a hand and join the now seven people on the list of available volunteers.
“The call out to volunteers is always there. We want to recruit people and promote helping out the community. We will never turn down anyone who wants to help.”
With the holidays coming even closer, the food bank is looking for a specific list of items that are still needed for Christmas hampers. Calling ahead will ensure that each of the items in need is not being left out or being donated in surplus.
The items that are needed for Christmas hampers are tin foil turkey roasting pans, canned fruit, honey, marmalade, desserts, peanut butter, cranberries, mandarin oranges, stuffing and canned vegetables.
Cash donations are being accepted as well to purchase items such as turkeys, ham and fresh vegetables.
“We do Christmas hampers each year on top of our regular hampers. It’s above and beyond what we typically put in. Last year, we did 55 hampers for Christmas,” said Ackermann. “The Blackfalds community is amazing – if we put out there that we need something, I know we will get it. We’re very fortunate.”
Donation boxes are available at Family Foods, at the Blackfalds Library, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) office and at The Abbey Centre. Applications for the Blackfalds Food Bank and Christmas Bureau are available through FCSS office.