The University of Alberta’s Campus Food Bank is making a desperate plea for donations.
This comes as organizers said high costs of tuition, food and rent have many students in dire need of help.
“We used to make around 40 to 60 hampers a week and now we make 150 to 200,” student volunteer Radha Maradiya said.
Last month, roughly 1,000 people accessed food and supplies at the food bank.
Organizers said so far this month, they are on track to far exceed that number.
“This year we have been so busy,” said Campus Food Bank programs manager Madi Corry said. “This event is more important to us than ever, we’ve seen more clients, more new clients, more folks needing help this year than ever before.”
To help students in need, the food bank held its annual food drive Saturday but this year it had to double down its efforts to meet a rising demand.
“We’re seeing more help needed at the food bank, more donors needed, more support needed, that’s why this event has gotten so big,” Maradiya said. “Up to 200 volunteers compared to past years where it wasn’t this big before.”
The campus food bank is accepting monetary donations, perishable and non-perishable items and toiletries.
To try and gather as many supplies as possible, dozens of volunteers went door-knocking in several neighbourhoods.
“A lot of clients are finding that rent increases, tuition increases and food inflation are the top reasons that they are needing the food bank,” Corry said.
To better serve its growing number of clients, the campus food bank is implementing a new program.
“We had a more traditional food bank hamper program, and in the upcoming weeks we’re changing to a grocery model so that clients can come and choose what they need rather than a more prescriptive option,” Corry said.
Food bank organizers hope the new option will go a long way in helping many students get through the academic year.
“Every time we give some of these supports and we meet these clients and we give out a food hamper, we know that they don’t experience food insecurity for whatever that time period is,” Maradiya said.
For more information on how to donate or access donations, click here.