Prince Albert Food Bank helps many over holidays

Jodi Schellenberg
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Now that Christmas is over and people are headed back to their normal routine, donations to the food bank are also levelling off.

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Although Christmas is a busy time of year for the Prince Albert Food Bank, the shelves are still mostly stocked going into the new year.

“They are actually not too bad,” co-manager Kerry Ramsdell said. “It’s been slow -- whether cheques are out or just weather permitting, it has been pretty quiet since the holidays.”

At the moment, there is no one item that is looking lower than others, she said.

“The shelves are still looking pretty good,” Ramsdell said. “Right now, not really (anything is needed). Everything still looks pretty good.”

Before Christmas, the food bank handed out about 100 hampers to those in need and close to 30 or 40 after Christmas, Ramsdell said.

Since it was the holiday season, there were many people willing to donate in December, keeping the shelves full throughout the month.

“Before Christmas we had lots coming in and we still have bins out there that have not come in yet,” Ramsdell said. “I think it was the Friday before Christmas our office was boxes everywhere.”

Not only were there personal donations from many concerned citizens, they also had a food drive from a local business bring in more than 400 pounds of food, as well as donations from Sask Pioneers and SIAST.

Every week, the food bank receives donations from grocery store collection bins as well, but this year there was a lot of support through that service.

“At Safeway right now, their $5 and $10 bags, people have been filling that bin overflowing actually,” Ramsdell said. “That’s great.”

Safeway was a huge supporter during the Christmas season, Ramsdell said.

“We did receive two pallets of vegetable platters from Safeway as well just before Christmas,” Ramsdell said. “They were going out in the hampers and they were using them in the kitchen.”

Many food bank users will probably be coming to pick up food again either by the end of this week or beginning of next, Ramsdell said.

“It will start to pick up again soon,” she said.

According to Food Banks Canada, most food banks see a decrease in donations by mid-January, since the holiday season is over. Ramsdell said since they have only been here for more than year, she is not sure if this is the case in Prince Albert.

“We have only been here for about a year and a half,” Ramsdell said. “Mid-January it probably start to slow down. In the springtime it will slow down again and come summer and fall it will start to pick up again. I guess it generally does slow down January and February.”

Although donations may slow down in January, Ramsdell said the support they have seen this year in December was amazing.

“Actually this year, I would have to say around this time is better than last year,” Ramsdell said. “It seems like there is more community spirit.”

She just asks the community doesn’t forget about the food bank in the coming months.

“Don’t bring me a truckload but just don’t forget about me,” she laughed.

Since the food bank deals with a lot of people who are facing challenges in their lives and she sees many people having difficulties dealing with the cold, Ramsdell asked all the people of Prince Albert to stay warm during the cold snap this week.

“Anybody who is out there who needs a warm place to go (find one) and anyone who has a warm place, stay there and stay warm,” Ramsdell said. “Don’t wander out if you don’t have to.”

Organizations: Prince Albert Food Bank, Safeway

Geographic location: Prince Albert

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