By Mamta Lulla

Parkland Food Bank Society has seen an unprecedented need in 2017 and handed out more than 16,500 food hampers.

“When we count each time a client accessed food from us last year, we have provided enough food for 44,000 people for a couple days, said Sheri Ratsoy, executive director.

The food bank has never handed out the number of hampers it gave out in 2017.

But thankfully the food bank has also seen an unprecedented supply of donations in the same year. In 2017, the food bank has received more than 300,000 kilograms of food.

The demand has almost doubled in the last couple years, said Ratsoy.

“Feeding 44,000 people that’s more than the population of Spruce Grove and half of population of Stony Plain if we count each time clients came in to access food,” she said.

The food bank has received a considerably high monetary donation as well: $390,000.

The money received was enough to meet the high demand, buy perishables like milk and meat, and pay utility bills.

The food bank also used some of the money to renovate the second storey so there’s more space at the facility to process and store food to meet the high demand.

As to why the demand was so high in 2017, Ratsoy pointed to the downturn in the economy, as well as growth in the area.

“There’s always a percentage of population that needs a bit of help,” she said.

She took the opportunity to thank the community members who have stepped up and supported the food bank.

“As people in the community know of the recession and needs of their fellow citizens, they step up — they see it as a priority to give back,” she said.

With the increase in need and donations, the food bank has been busy. So in 2018, the members are hoping the stability in the economy would help them as well. Ratsoy said she hopes for “things to settle.”

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