Prince Albert Food Bank looking to meet increased need with annual Christmas Food Drive

Herald file photo. The Prince Albert Foodbank is looking for non-perishable food item donations

The Prince Albert Food Bank has seen a steep increase in the number of people using its services, and they’re looking to meet that challenge at their annual Christmas Food Drive on Thursday.

Food bank representatives will be on hand at Save-On Food from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 30. Food bank executive director Kim Scruby said they’ve been “significantly busier” since COVID, and hope to raise as much as they can on Thursday.

“It’s gotten a lot busier,” Scruby said. “We’re seeing a big increase now.

“We used to think about setting goals, but if we don’t make it, that’s not good news so we just hope to do the best we can.”

Six years ago, Scruby said the food bank handed out around 700-750 hampers a month. Recently, that number has been as high as 1,290 per month.

The biggest change is the types of households who use the food bank. Scruby said they’re seeing a large increase in families from households were one or more persons are working full time.

Scruby said the increase in cost of living is a big factor forcing those families to use the food bank, but it’s not the only issue.

“I don’t know if some people are affected by mortgage rates or rent going up. I’m not sure what the answer to that is, but we’re definitely seeing an increase,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Scruby said Prince Albert residents have stepped up their giving to help the food bank reach everyone who walks through their doors.

“Throughout COVID and all that type of thing, we experienced higher volumes. We are (experiencing higher volumes) right now, in fact. We’ve never actually run out of food or had to turn anyone away, and that’s entirely due to the generosity and support of the community.”

To help liven up the festivities, Santa will make an appearance for the last two hours of the annual Christmas Food Drive. Scruby said they’re grateful for all the support.

“Without the support we’ve got from the people in PA, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” he said.

Residents who cannot get to Save-On Foods during the food drive can drop-off their donations between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Monetary donations can be made online.