Wood Buffalo Food Bank hosts first major food drive in 2 years

When flooding devastated Fort McMurray in the spring of 2020, Canadians stepped up to help the community any way they could.

“We had 700,000 pounds of food come up to us,” Dan Edwards said, executive director of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank.

“We were able to sort of ride that wave of 700,000 pounds to get us through those times where we weren’t able to host a food drive.”

Read more: Food bank still dealing with fallout from Fort McMurray wildfire

Now that supply is dwindling. Factor in several waves of COVID-19 and the number of people leaning on the food bank steadily grew.

“Then we moved — so now we’re kind of getting settled and we’re in a place that we were able to host a food drive again,” Edwards explained.

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This weekend the food bank hosted its first food drive since 2019.

They tried to host one last Christmas season, but because they couldn’t have volunteers, it only raised roughly 8,000 lbs of food. As for this weekend, their goal was 80,000 lbs.

Read more: Alberta food banks struggling to meet demand as need surges 30 per cent

“It takes about 600 volunteers for us to pull this event off,” Edwards said.

“AHS has worked with us to help us continue to function, and to continue to be open as an emergency service and to work with volunteers.”

This service is vital for the city as Edwards explained the food bank typically hands out 600 hampers every month and they’re on track to keep meeting that need.

Read more: Why Canada’s food inflation may get worse before it gets better

Thankfully, supply chain concerns because of the situation in B.C. hasn’t affected the food bank yet, according to Edwards. Though he adds, it could just be a matter of weeks before they feel the impact.

“There’s a few other shortages. The turkey shortage has been a bit of a problem and there’s a pasta shortage … but those were created by other factors.”

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That being said, Edwards hopes to help B.C. out in some way once they’re back to normal levels.

“Everyone across the country came and supported us when we were in trouble with the fires and with the flooding,” he said.

“We want to be able to give back we just need to still be able to take care of our own for today.”

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