Edmonton Heritage Festival moves online and food bank counting on your donations

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The August long weekend and the Edmonton Heritage Festival has typically been a major event for Edmonton's Food Bank, but this isn’t a typical summer. Kendra Slugoski has more on the push for donations in the absence of events t he food bank normally relies on.

Edmonton’s Food Bank needs your help.

The August long weekend, and the Edmonton Heritage Festival, has typically been a major food drive over the three-day event, but this isn’t a typical summer.

“We usually get about $100,000 in monetary donations,” said Marjorie Bencz, executive director at Edmonton’s Food Bank. “Plus, of course, non-perishable food items up to 50,000 kilograms comes in at that event.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Heritage Festival is taking its pavilions online, offering a smorgasbord of entertainment and restaurants where you can order your meat on a stick and other favourites.

Read more: 2020 Edmonton Heritage Festival cancelled due to COVID-19

Edmonton’s Food Bank has had to get creative too — it is asking for continued online donations and is hosting a drive-thru event on Saturday.

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Donations can be dropped off between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Edmonton’s Food Bank warehouse at 11508 – 120 St. NW. You can also drop off donations at the north parking lot of Southgate Centre at 5015 – 111 St. NW.

“During our summer months our supplies are really low,” said Bencz. “We do rely on special events throughout the course of the year.”

Edmonton’s Food Bank has also been stocking up for the months ahead.

In March, when COVID-19 shutdowns and layoffs were being felt across the country, the need for food hampers was staggering.

More than 25,000 clients were served that month — a record for Edmonton’s Food Bank.

Come October, once the Federal CERB program ends, there could be another spike in demand.

Read more: Many Canadians will max out on CERB in July. What happens next?

“We have to be in this for the long haul,” said Bencz. “But we don’t know what’s going to be happening into the fall.”

Edmonton’s Food Bank has also adjusted the type of food supplied to other social agencies — bag lunches instead of hot meals are offered.

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Bencz said major grocery stores still have the food donation bins and every bit helps.

“We couldn’t have gone through that roller coaster without the community support.”