Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Sign of the Times - The Wood Buffalo Food Bank and Need

When the press release arrived yesterday I wasn't really surprised. I've been expecting to see releases like it, and I have already seen glimpses of similar issues with other non-profit organizations. Yesterday it was the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, and the issue was an increase in their client numbers - an astonishing increase, up 30% from this time last year. And this isn't an isolated incident because their numbers have been up for awhile, and they are finding themselves staring at quickly emptying shelves and an increased number of people to feed. And this, to me, is deeply worrisome - and likely a sign of things to come.

Normally at this time of year the Food Bank is in pretty decent shape, just three months after the annual food drive. This year, though, increased demand for services - a jump of 30% - has meant that food and money that would have lasted far longer has disappeared rapidly. What worries me about this is the fact that we are just on the very edge of seeing our population begin to really grow again (according to all estimates) and this is likely to become a far more common scenario. Organizations like the food bank are likely to see continuing increased demand for their services, and the pressures on them will continue to grow. Just as the community grows so will the need for non-profit services - and it worries me because I think we have become a bit complacent.

Many of us know we are now known as the "most giving community" per capita thanks to our generosity with the United Way every year. Most of us donate to non-profit organizations, and many of us do volunteer work, too. I think, though, that we might be holding the belief that we do not have to do more than we currently are - and that is an illusion. As we see population growth we will see growth in the need for our non-profit sector too, and we will need to be ready to address that.

Today I am asking you what you will do to ensure that as we grow we meet the needs of those in our community who are struggling. Today you can give to the food bank, and I will repost the press release I received in its entirety below. Today, though, we also need to begin thinking about tomorrow, and our future in this region. We need to start thinking about a social policy framework, an infrastructure of a different kind than bridges and roads and buildings. We need to start thinking about ways to use our resource wealth - our wealth of both our natural resources, oil and people - to ensure that no one in our community goes hungry or homeless. Today we need to start asking ourselves what we can do as individuals, governments, businesses, and industries  to make a difference in this community, especially now as it grows. This press release is likely just an early warning, a sign of the times to come when there is more need and demand than ever before. Today I humbly suggest we start thinking about how we will meet it, because tomorrow might be too late. We can start by giving to the food bank today - but we cannot for a moment forget about tomorrow, because tomorrow is coming, and we need to make sure we are ready for it.

Press Release from Wood Buffalo Food Bank

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta – Food Bank Sees Large Increase in Usage

On March 18, 2013 the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association is requesting the assistance of its community. January 2013 saw a 30% increase in usage over January of 2012 and February 2013 saw a 33% increase of February 2012.

This increase in usage means that our stocks are being depleted 30% faster than anticipated and what should have lasted till end of May beginning of June is already being used up. While the stock of some food items such as pasta, flour, sugar, canned beans, etc... are plentiful our primary stocks of canned vegetables, canned meats, and pasta sauces are depleting far faster than new stock is coming in.

The Wood Buffalo Food Bank would like to ask our community to help support our organization by donating at your local grocery store, directly at the food bank, or by hosting a food drive where you live, work, or play. A list of our most needed items can be found on our twitter and Facebook daily and well as in the Fort McMurray Today every Tuesday.

The Wood Buffalo food bank would like to thank all our supporters whether corporate or individual every dollar and every pound make a world of difference to a hungry family. If you are interested in running a food drive and need some help please contact us for information and assistance.

At the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, the need to serve our clients in the most efficient and respectful way possible is paramount to our goals. In order to be a hand up and not a hand out we must make every effort to make our services accessible to all of the citizens in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

1 comment:

  1. this seems like you just trying to get out of our little fundraiser, just saying.