Target Hunger 2020
Local food banks thank community for over 17,000 pounds of food collected by Target Hunger!
While food donations are down substantially from last year (42,000 in 2019), organizers note that community members have been generous since the beginning of the public health crisis, with many choosing to give safely, online at home.
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 food banks 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 Maral Kiani Tari, 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.”
“Every year we set a goal of 100,000 pounds, which would equate to one can per person within the City,” says Danielle McIntyre, executive director with Interfaith Food Bank, “however, we knew from the start that Target Hunger would look different this year.” The current health crisis has caused interruptions in supply chains, workplace closures, and limited ability for groups to gather as they normally would. “Local faith-based groups have always been huge champions of Target Hunger, and while many of these groups have adapted to online connections with their membership, it’s not quite the same. The Lethbridge Public Library Food for Fines program, which normally collects on behalf of Target Hunger, was also unable to go forward this year.”
This was also the first year that Target Hunger did not require volunteers to deliver the Yellow Bags to every household. In an attempt to reduce the use of single-use plastics, organizers encouraged community members to use their own bags/boxes and to mark them with “TH” prior to doorstep pickup on Saturday. “The yellow bag is such a visual reminder,” says McIntyre, “we’ll be reviewing community feedback to determine our strategies for ensuring community members are aware and reminded of the opportunity to give for future food drives.”
Community members are encouraged to participate in the Target Hunger 2020 Survey available at this link. Links to the survey are also posted on Food Bank and Target Hunger Lethbridge websites and social media pages.
In addition to food and funds, 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.
- Kush Patel, Yamin Raza, Katherine Campos, Cyrus Lomibao, and Aldrin Azucena; student interns who kept the committee on track by overseeing route maps, coordinating volunteers, maintaining the Online Sign-up tool and promoting the event.
- All of the major grocers and Cornerstone Funeral Home, for acting as an alternate drop off locations.
- Local media outlets for multiple public service announcements and event promotion.
- 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 many volunteers from the LDS Young Single Adults group, and Evangelical Free Church.
- The thousands of community members who contributed food and financial donations to help our neighbors in need.
Organizers encourage community members to continue to bring in bags that may have been missed on pickup and remind everyone that it is never too late to give – donations will continue to be accepted at both food banks and local grocery store collection bins. Financial contributions will continue to be accepted online at the Target Hunger Website or on either food bank website.
The large quantity of food recruited from the spring food drive is most appreciated by local food banks, which have been open and supporting local families during the pandemic. Each food bank processes about 70,000 pounds of food each and every month, and during the summer, stocks tend to get quite low.
Food Banks Canada reports that nearly 65% of Canadians believe that hunger will become a serious problem because of COVID-19. Given that there were over 1 million visits to food bank one month prior to the pandemic, a growth in hunger and food insecurity is being closely monitored by the food bank network.
Representatives from each food bank encourage community members to take advantage of opportunities to give, as individual Canadians can help reduce hunger year-round by making food or financial donations, or by giving of their time. Those interested in volunteering with Target Hunger 2021 are encouraged to connect with either food bank.