Edmonton’s Meals Financial institution combating huge demand as inflation, costs soar

Inflation, rising gas prices, and everything being more expensive means Edmonton’s Food Bank is struggling.

More people than ever are using the food bank, and at the same time, the food bank says donations are getting harder to come by.

Demand has been up during the pandemic; From June 2020 to June 2022, the food bank has seen a 97 per cent increase in use.

The food bank relies on Edmonton’s annual Heritage Festival for a large bulk of donations. This year they had a goal of 50,000 kilograms of food donations, but fell short of that by more than half.

They managed to raise $35,267, but spokesperson Tamisan Bencz-Knight said buying food and transporting it across the city costs more.

Tamisan Bencz-Knight, Edmonton’s Food Bank spokesperson, says the food bank needs more of everything to cope with demand. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

In June, the food bank helped close to 35,000 people.

“Individuals that were struggling before are struggling even more right now with those cost of living increases,” Bencz-Knight said.

“People that were just teetering on the edge that didn’t quite need us as an organization are now finding themselves at our door. We’ve even had past donors come in and say, ‘I’m sorry, I used to donate. I need to ask for help right now.'”

Need ‘food, funds and friends’

The food bank said they need more of everything right now, from food and money to donations and volunteers.

Matthew Cormier has been volunteering with the food bank for a little over a year. He encourages others to come help out.

“I’m just here as a means of giving back to the community and helping families that need it,” he said.

The food bank said demand is so high their warehouse is currently open seven days a week trying to meet demand, and they need ‘food, funds and friends’ to continue helping people.

“We do need the funds to make sure that our trucks are on the road, our lights are on, our coolers are running, our freezers are going and to make those wheels work. We also need the food to get it out to people, ” Bencz-Knight said.

The food bank said donations can be made online or dropped off at many major grocery stories, Edmonton fire stations, or at the food bank’s warehouse.

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