Summer slump slows food bank donations

The Strathcona Food Bank has been tweeting out its urgently needed items on Twitter recently in hopes that residents will answer the call. The non-profit is hoping to get some canned stews, chillis, salmon, vegetables and soups. The group is looking for pancake mix and syrups so they can keep putting those in the hampers. Photo Supplied

Share Adjust Comment Print

Strathcona Food Bank’s nearly empty shelves are beginning to echo the tale of Old Mother Hubbard.

As summer comes to a close and people are returning home from vacations, the Strathcona Food Bank is hoping to see an uptick in donations. The summer months tend to cause a slowdown for the local non-profit and this year is no different.

“This time of the summer is often really slow for donations because there are not as many food drives because people are on vacation and there ends up being a lot of items we are out of,” explained Gayle McCarthy, a Strathcona Food Bank volunteer. “We still make the hampers and they still go out and the volunteers do the best they can with what’s available, but there is a lot of stuff lacking right now in our stock.”

With kids on summer holidays, there are also no school food bank fundraisers, but some donations trickle in from other sources.

“This tends to be the time of year that is slowest for donations, except of course for fresh food, which is coming in from farmers and people with gardens,” she said.

The Strathcona Food Bank has been tweeting out its urgently needed items on Twitter recently in hopes that residents will answer the call.

The food bank is currently asking for donations of canned stews, chillis, salmon, vegetables and soups. Pancake mix and syrups, as well as tomato sauce, sidekicks, and ready-made soups are also welcome.

Strathcona Food Bank is hoping with summer coming to a close, residents will start thinking about the food bank as they go for groceries. The non-profit said they are in urgent need of canned foods, pancake mix, syrup, sidekicks and other items. Photo Supplied

The organization provided 2,082 hampers for people in need in 2018, which breaks down to 5,068 adults, 949 teens and 2,704 children. Feeding all those people can seem like a lot, but it just takes a little help from everyone to get it done, noted McCarthy.

“All of the major grocery stores in Sherwood Park have food bank boxes inside, as well as Fire Station No. 1,” McCarthy said, adding you can grab a couple of extra items and drop them off after you’ve finished buying your own groceries.

The non-profit, which is run entirely by volunteers, is always looking for monetary donations as well. That can be done by donating through the food bank’s website. There is also information about how to send e-transfers.

The Strathcona Food Bank, which started in 1983, has around 150 volunteers currently. Five days a week drivers and helpers visit local grocery stores to collect bread, pastries, produce and frozen foods to distribute into the hampers, which are then handed out to residents who request them.

“Volunteers are always welcome and the easiest way to do that is to call the food bank and speak with a coordinator because there are so many different volunteer opportunities available,” she said. “The entire place is run by volunteers and there is no paid staff at all.”

Strathcona County has a population of around 98,381, according to the 2018 census, and the Strathcona Food Bank’s data shows the number of residents receiving hampers has gone down by 430 from 2017-2018. The organization also gave 89 fewer hampers out in 2018 than in 2017 due to demand.

“Strathcona County is so good about supporting the food bank and we have amazing volunteers and an incredible community,” McCarthy added.

You can find out more about how to donate at