INNISFAIL – Early holiday season support has arrived in a big way for the Innisfail and District Food Bank.
With demand for service rising at an unprecedented rate, the community and the Innisfail Lions Club came through on Nov. 25 to donate half a ton of food and a big matching cheque.
The donations came through a once-annual food drive that had been paused for three years due to the pandemic.
“It's part of our mandate as a service club to do these kinds of things and the food bank needs it,” said Lions member Tom Reinhart.
“I think the important thing is to give credit to the community. We’re there to enable them but they are the ones who donated the thousand pounds of food, and enabled us to add a thousand dollars to the kitty.”
On Nov. 25 eight Lions members set up booths at both Paul’s No Frills Innisfail and the Central Alberta Co-op Mall in Innisfail from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accept community food donations for the Innisfail and District Food Bank.
Later in the day Lions members were able to drop off 1,087 pounds of food to the Innisfail food bank. The service club then matched each pound of donated food with one dollar and gave the food bank a monetary donation of $1,087.
“It’s absolutely awesome because we're starting to get our shelves full again, which is what we need,” said Heather Taylor, co-coordinator of the food bank, adding her agency continues to be busy with demand for service. “I know for the last few months our number of new clients has been steadily rising.”
Last month Taylor told the Albertan that September’s demand for service figures showed it was up 17 per cent compared to the same month in 2022. She added October’s statistics doubled; skyrocketing to 34 per cent over what was seen a year earlier.
She said her agency has never seen such a dramatic increase.
Taylor said last week she has not yet been able to compile November statistics.
However, she was especially grateful for the hard committed work from the Lions club.
“The Lions club has always been very, very kind to us,” said Taylor. “They’ve helped us out in lots of ways and they've had food drives in the summertime also. They are very, very generous in our community and we really appreciate it.”
And more help for the food bank is soon to come.
The CPKC Holiday Train is coming through the local region on Friday, Dec. 8, with stops in Innisfail, Olds and Didsbury. There will be an annual donation to each food bank in the region.
Last year the Innisfail food bank received a cheque for $3,500 from the holiday train.
The Innisfail RCMP 27th annual Charity Check Stop is set for Dec. 2 on 50th Street between 48th and 49th avenues. Last year the event raised a total of $15,735 in cash and cheques, along with 542.2 pounds of food for the Innisfail food bank.
On Jan. 5 the second annual Battle of the Badges hockey game between the Innisfail RCMP and Innisfail Fire Rescue will be held at the Innisfail Twin Arena. The inaugural event raised more than $6,000 and 1,487 pounds of food for the local food bank.
And during the first week of December the food bank will be distributing free turkeys to needy families and hams to single citizens.