Edmonton Food Bank smashes Heritage Festival goal

Edmonton's Food Bank set up at the Servus Heritage Festival. Global News

The largest food drive for the Edmonton Food Bank once again delivered, with over 60,000 kilograms of food raised at the Edmonton Heritage Festival.

The food bank went in with a goal of 50,000 kg of food and received a total of 60,844 kg by the end of last week. The organization also collects donations during the week following the Heritage Festival, hoping that those who forgot to bring food to Hawrelak Park, or couldn’t donate cash, remember to bring a donation to their other locations through the week.

Festival attendees also donated over $37,000 in the form of unused food tickets.

“[The Heritage Festival is] a very unique and marvelous experience that we enjoy as Edmontonians and as Albertans because it does reflect the diversity there,” the food bank’s executive director Majorie Bencz said Tuesday.
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“It’s a celebration of that diversity and so frequently we tend to talk about negative things that happen in our community, so it’s really good when we can talk about the positive things that are happening.”

READ MORE: Heritage Festival smashes attendance record on Sunday

During the festival, there were concerns the food bank wouldn’t meet its goal due to bad weather that led to smaller crowds Friday and Saturday. A record-breaking turnout Sunday helped the food bank catch up, but they didn’t quite meet their goal just from festival donations.

“Sunday was an incredible day down there — there were record numbers of people. But Saturday and Monday the rain did dampen some of the spirits down there. So, we hadn’t reached our goal by the Monday evening, but people came forward and helped us out at the grocery stores and fire halls and that was very supportive of our work and truly appreciated.”

In 2016, the food bank’s client numbers had reached a record high and demand through 2017 has continued to grow.

“Although the food will not last forever, we are fortunate and feel humbled by the community stepping up,” Bencz said.

“Can-by-can and dollar-by-dollar, everyone is helping and we encourage people to continue to help as hunger never takes a holiday.”

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READ MORE: More boots on the ground: Edmonton police help hand out food hampers

Each month, between 20,000 and 24,600 people are served through the hamper programs, according to the food bank. The organization also provides food for programs delivered by over 250 agencies, churches, schools and food depots.

– With files from Eileen Bell, 630 CHED

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