The Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank is grateful after another successful Christmas hamper delivery. 

Staff and volunteers delivered 247 full hampers and 372 toy packages during the food bank’s Christmas Hamper Delivery Day on Dec.18. Executive director Kassandra Gartner said the number of deliveries was a significant increase over last year, although they had plenty of help. 

“We had just over 100 delivering vehicles,” she said. “A lot of vehicles were able to deliver more than one hamper, so we had some people coming back that were able to deliver two or three hampers.” 

While the turnout of volunteers was lower than in 2020, Gartner attributed it to people having more time on their hands during the height of the pandemic.  

The increase in hamper deliveries comes at a time when food banks across the country are experiencing a rise in people accessing their services. According to the 2021 HungerCount report released by Food Banks Canada, 116,396 Albertans visited a food bank in March 2021, a total increase of 29.6 per cent over the 2019 HungerCount report. Rural areas have been especially affected, with 30.5 per cent of food bank users in rural communities being seniors or persons with a disability. 

According to Gartner, many people don’t realize that January is the busiest month of the year for the local food bank. 

“It’s just a really tough time for a lot of people; they’re struggling. It takes a lot to get through a holiday, especially if you have children, and you know you do the best that you can. A lot of people just need a little bit of extra help in January.” 

However, she was pleased to say that the food bank currently does not have any major needs as their shelves are fully stocked, adding that the community has very supportive. She also expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the community for making the Christmas Hamper Delivery program successful. 

Anyone who needs food assistance is encouraged to reach out to the food bank by calling 780-998-4099. Hamper days are two times a week and those in need of assistance can pick up food the same day.