August 1, 2016 1:00 pm
Updated: August 1, 2016 8:58 pm

Edmonton Food Bank collects just 50% of donation goal at largest event of year

WATCH ABOVE: The Edmonton Food Bank is in the midst of a crisis. Its largest food and fundraiser of the year is nowhere near its goal. Julia Wong explains.

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Edmonton’s Food Bank has collected just half of its donation goal at its largest food and fundraiser of the year.

As of Monday morning, the Edmonton Food Bank had collected 17,000 kg of its 50,000 kg goal. By Monday afternoon, they had reached 25,000 kg.

“The weather has played a part. There have been many other wonderful activities happening over the course of this long weekend,” Tamisan Bencz-Knight, manager of strategic relationships and partnerships at the Edmonton Food Bank, said.

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The Heritage Festival closed several hours early on Saturday after a thunderstorm and severe weather hit.

READ MORE: Summer storm shuts down portion of Edmonton’s Whitemud Drive

“I think it definitely has scared some individuals. Personally I might not have hauled my child down to Hawrelak Park if I was worried it was going to rain.”

WATCH: Severe thunderstorm Saturday puts a damper on outdoor festivals

Bencz-Knight said every can and every dollar makes a difference.

“We are concerned. We are monitoring things. But we hope people hear our call to action,” she said.

In addition to non-perishable food items, the food bank is also collecting monetary donations and unused food tickets.

Summer can often be a difficult month for the Edmonton Food Bank.

Julia Wong/Global News

Edmonton Food Bank Executive Director Marjorie Bencz said the Heritage Festival has normally sustained the organization through the difficult summer months.

If the food bank does not meet its goal this year, some adjustments will have to be made.

“If, in the past, we didn’t meet our goal or we had some challenges, we would cut down on the size of hampers versus turning people away,” she said.

Bencz said demand for the food bank is up this year, citing the economy, the Fort McMurray wildfire and the influx of Syrian refugees.

“Last year, you would be looking at 13,000 to 16,000 people per month. This year, it has consistently been over 21,000 people per month.”

WATCH: New cultural experiences to take in at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival

For those not attending the festival, food donations can be left at all major grocery stores and City of Edmonton Fire Halls until Friday, Aug 5. They can also be made online.

You can also drop off unused food tickets at the main warehouse located at 11508-120 Street.

Watch below: Executive Director Jim Gibbon previews the 2016 Servus Heritage festival.  The festival runs until Monday.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment

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