The Wood Buffalo Food Bank collected less than 10 per cent of its food donation goal at its annual winter food drive, but exceeded its financial goals. Dan Edwards, executive director of the food bank, says he is not surprised at the results of the food drive, which he is still calling declaring to be a success.
“We were able to pass that money number and in the economy we’re in right now, to be able to even raise that goal was fantastic,” he said.
The Syncrude Food Drive, which turned 28 this year, raised $313,362 in cash donations after the food bank set a $300,000 goal. But the drive only raised 7,919 pounds of food out of its 80,000 pound goal. To compare, last year the food drive raised just more than $300,000 and 72,000 pounds of food.
Usually, the food drive involves volunteers and staff collecting donations outside grocery stores throughout the weekend. COVID-19 meant those people were replaced with collection bins. Anna Noble, spokesperson for the food bank, said this year’s numbers show how vital volunteers are to fundraisers.
“It just goes to show that they are the ones making the difference and impact on our community, and bring so much value and success to our fundraising events,” she said in a statement.
Management of local grocery stores also told Edwards that stores were emptier than they usual this past weekend.
“People are doing what they’ve been asked to do, and that is to stay home and only go out when they have to,” said Edwards. “It was still a success because we were able to pass that money goal. In the economy we’re in right now, to be able to still hit that goal was fantastic.”
Edwards said the food shortfall can still be made up with smaller future fundraisers. The donation bins are also remaining in grocery stores and people can still give financial donations online. The financial victory also means the food bank can buy large amounts of food in bulk.
“We can work on other plans and utilize some more resources available to us, and we’ll be able to make up for the food,” said Edwards. “If we didn’t make our money goal as well, it really would have been a shock to the organization.”
Demand has continued rising following COVID-19 restrictions and the region’s economic crisis. Since March, roughly 50 new households per month are added to the food bank’s client list. This trend is expected to continue into 2021.
The food bank has still seen major victories in recent weeks. A building at 10100 Centennial Drive will be the organization’s new home once renovations are finished by late February or early March.
In the past four years, the food bank had started outgrowing its King Street location, which was damaged in April’s flooding, and was renting storage space to supplement the site. The new site includes offices, community meeting spaces, a kitchen and a warehouse. Keeping everything in one location will make it easier to serve the community.
Financial donations can be made at the Wood Buffalo Food Bank’s website. Food donation bins can also be found at grocery stores across Fort McMurray.
Published at Thu, 03 Dec 2020 05:54:43 +0000