September 15, 2018 6:55 pm

Thousands volunteer in citywide Calgary food drive

Seven-thousand volunteers collected non-perishables across Calgary for the City-Wide Food Drive on Saturday.

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Seven thousand volunteers collected non-perishables across Calgary for the City-Wide Food Drive on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, 300,000 bags were distributed throughout 200 neighbourhoods in the city with the food bank’s target to raise as many pounds of food.

As of 4:30 p.m., the food bank has raised 320,000 pounds, with donations still piling in, said Shawna Ogston with the organization. Ogston expects the food bank to be able to match the 460,000 pounds they collected last year.

The 14th annual event is about helping people who might have fallen on tough times.

“The City-Wide Food Drive is an amazing demonstration about how much we care about our neighbours,” said James McAra, CEO of the Calgary Food Bank.

Seven-thousand volunteers collected non-perishables across Calgary for the City-Wide Food Drive on Saturday.

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Every day at the food bank, 300 to 500 hampers are given out, McAra said. Often, the organization doesn’t see the same people back again; the food bank said 80 per cent of the time it sees a family in distress, it is able to connect them with another service.

“The conversation with the food bank can be: ‘What do you actually need? Let’s talk about support for migration, let’s talk about employment, let’s talk about all the things that happen when the kids go back to school.’ So we have that conversation in our community to say we can do this and food is a healthy part of that conversation,” McAra said.

The annual food drive is key for accumulating premium food, which makes the difference in putting together emergency hampers later in the year. McAra said it’s important for the bank to stock up so it’s ready for when crisis hits, like when family or work circumstances change unexpectedly.

“Life moves throughout a 12-month cycle and so does hunger,” he said.

“Hunger is all year round.”

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