Target Hunger 2016
Last year, we collected over 55,000 pounds of food.
That's a lot of food!
Thank you to all who participated, whether that be through donation or volunteering your time.
The city wide Target Hunger campaign took place on Saturday, June 11th, and collectively, residents of Lethbridge and area contributed over 55,000 pounds of food that will help to restock the shelves at Interfaith Food Bank and Lethbridge Food Bank. The food drive took place in Coaldale as well this year, and generated 5110 pounds of food for the Coaldale Food Bank.
Donations are still trickling in from individuals who missed getting their bags out in time for pickup, or chose to skip the doorstep pickup in favor of dropping off their donations at the Foodbanks or local grocers this week.
“We’re thankful for everyone who participated by putting a bag out on their doorstep, and are equally grateful to the community volunteers for organizing the event and recruiting the people and resources necessary to complete all of the work on our behalf,” says Debbie Woelders, executive director with Lethbridge Food Bank. “We couldn’t pull off a food drive of this size without the support of the community and the hundreds of volunteers that pitched in to help.”
The total contributions for this year’s food drive fell well short of the organizers goal of 100,000 pounds. “Last year we hit a record total of 59,000 pounds, and we were hoping to bring in much more this year, as we’ve experienced a steady increase in usage of about 25% since last March” says Danielle McIntyre, executive director with Interfaith Food Bank. “Though we didn’t quite hit our goal of 100,000 pounds, we managed to have increased the number of community volunteers involved with the project, and are happy to see so many different people, from different walks of life coming together to help us address hunger needs in our community.”
Vaughn Caldwell of Coaldale Food Bank credits the entire community of Coaldale for the success of this year’s community food drive, which also resulted in about 25% fewer donations this year compared to 2015 totals. “Thank you to everyone who gave from their hearts, filling our bright yellow bags with a generous offering, and giving of their free time to help out – we know it’s been tougher for many of us this year, and we are grateful for any support community members can provide.”
Organizers speculate that the current state of the economy has affected the food banks not only in increased requests for service, but those who support the food banks are also feeling the pinch in the pocketbook right now. Recent events such as the fire relief efforts in Fort McMurray have also seen an outpouring of support by Albertans, and food drive organizers suspect that may have affected this year’s Target Hunger totals. “There is only so much available support,” says McIntyre, “and in tough times, Albertans step up to help out wherever they can. We know the support would be there for us if the shoe were on the other foot, and we’ll just have to be creative and persistent in raising the support we need to meet local needs this year.”
In addition to food contributions, community members also gave of themselves, offering their time to assist on event day, or to encourage participation from the community. A very special thank you should be extended to:
- Target Hunger Planning Committee comprised of representatives from both food banks, and community members dedicated to battling hunger in Lethbridge and area.
- Kaitlynn Weaver and Roslin Mckechnie, Serving Communities Intern Program (SCIP) students, who kept the committee on track by developing route maps, coordinating volunteers and promoting the event.
- All of the major grocers that assisted with promotion and acted as drop off locations: 2 local Safeway stores, both Save on Foods stores, Sobey’s Uplands, Real Canadian Superstore, Real Canadian Wholesale Club, and Troy’s No Frills
- Volunteer Lethbridge for helping to promote the event and for providing volunteers to hang posters throughout the city.
- Several local groups and agencies who hosted events to collect for Target Hunger such as the Lethbridge Public Library Food for Fines program and Westminster Outdoor Pool.
- The 15 Area Coordinators assigned to help coordinate route volunteers.
- The hundreds of volunteers who assisted with bag delivery and pickup, sorting at collection sites and hosting community events to support Target Hunger. A special mention to the 20 volunteers that joined us from Covenant Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee, through their mission work with Amazing Grace Community Church, and almost 100 volunteers from the LDS Youth Conference.
- The thousands of community members who contributed food and financial donations to help our neighbors in need.