The holiday season has officially begun, with the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, decorating and partying in full swing. But Christmas is also a time when charities begin pushing hard for donations.
The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank is one of the local programs which has an increased need for donations during the holidays.
“On an average day the food bank distributes about 250 emergency food hampers,” said marketing and communications co-ordinator Kathryn Sim.
“During December, that number can jump as high as 500 daily.
“We don’t know why for sure, the research hasn’t been done. I could speculate that families with school-age kids have a lot of expenses in the fall months (school fees, weather-appropriate clothing, activity fees) – the onset of colder weather may bring an increase in heating bills, and even an increase in gas or transit costs.
“Folks struggle to make it through these expensive months and find, by the time mid-November hits, that they just aren’t making ends meet,” she says.
“And so, they turn to us for temporary support.”
For the past 26 years, the increase of need at the Calgary Food Bank has been met by the CBC Calgary/Suncor Energy Food Bank Drive.
“In that time our audience has raised millions of dollars in cash and food for the food bank,” said Angela Knight of CBC Radio’s morning Eyeopener show.
“Hopefully we’ve raised awareness of the organization and the many programs that they run in the community.”
Knight says the fact that there is such a huge need for the food bank is what makes the campaign such a worthy cause.
“The food bank is not a government agency,” she said.
“The organization does not have a political or religious agenda.
“Its goal is to help people, all people, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Today, if you need it. The food bank was started by volunteers and continues to rely on volunteers to operate each day.”
The 27th annual food drive was kick started this year with a $50,000 donation from Suncor Energy. The goal of the campaign is to collect $1 million in cash and food donations.
Suncor has been involved with the Calgary Food Bank Drive since its beginning.
“Suncor believes in investing in organizations that are making a meaningful impact in our community,” said Nicole Fisher of Suncor Energy.
“Through our support of this campaign, we have an opportunity to get behind an organization that has been helping Calgarians in need for the past 30 years.”
Up until Dec. 24, Calgarians are being encouraged to donate food and money to the campaign and help with reaching the $1 million goal.
The event has raised over $12 million for the organization over the years and has become one of the key fund raising campaigns for the food bank.
“A million dollars in food and funds from a single campaign makes a very large dent in the resources required to meet the needs of our clients,” says Sim.
“The campaign is also an amazing opportunity for awareness and education as we are afforded a lot of air time on CBC radio and TV.”
“Anyone interested in contributing can drop off a non-perishable food item at Petro-Canada stations in Calgary, or make a donation at the Suncor Energy Centre, CBC Broadcast Centre, or online at calgaryfoodbank.com,” said Fisher.
If you are interested in getting involved with the charitable initiative’s going on during the holiday season, the food bank welcomes anyone to participate in any of the events listed on their holiday calendar.
The food bank is also always accepting donations whether in a monetary form or food items.