Edmonton Food Bank needs more than just cash donations ahead of busy Christmas season

Edmonton Food Bank. Global News

As everyone heads into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the Edmonton Food Bank is prepping for its busiest time of the year as well.

“We say our favourite non-perishable food item is money, but at the same time we need support in the form of food, people’s generous time through volunteering and, of course, monetary donations,” executive director Marjorie Bencz told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen on Thursday morning.

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos collect 130,000 lbs of food to tackle hunger

In a National Post column making the rounds again this year, Tristan Hopper touts the benefits of giving cash over canned goods. While Bencz agrees, she said it’s not always logical to ask people to donate only monetarily, pointing to the success of the food bank bins that line Candy Cane Lane every year.

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“That is a way for people to support the lane, which is a free public event, and for them to support the food bank,” she said.

“We wouldn’t be able to have monetary donation bins out there because you would need people with each of those bins collecting it every night. That would require a lot of resources.”

While any donations are appreciated, Bencz agreed that the food bank can stretch dollars further than the average person. The equivalent cost of a few cans of tuna in the grocery store could get the food bank $20 worth of gleaned food from local partners, like day old bread, pastries, yogurt, cottage cheese and imperfect fruits and vegetables.

“We buy $2,000 worth of eggs each week, so the monetary donations are very helpful for the food bank,” Bencz said.

LISTEN: Edmonton Food Bank executive director Marjorie Bencz on what is needed at the Edmonton Food Bank

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Anyone looking to donate money, canned goods or their time is urged to do so.

“All donations are appreciated and when people come forward and donate their time, that’s truly appreciated because we can’t do our work without our volunteers.”

Over 20,000 people are fed each month at the food bank and there’s always an increase in demand at the holiday season.

READ MORE: 10,000 pounds of potatoes harvested by Edmonton students, volunteers for food bank

In demand products include soup, pasta, pasta sauce and baby formula.

In 2016, volunteers gave 76,800 hours, which is up 13 per cent of 2015. Donations can be brought to the food bank’s warehouse at 11508 – 120 Street.