After a several-year hiatus, the Airdrie Food Bank has announced that one of its most beloved events is making a triumphant return this fall. Come Sunday, September 15, the Empty Bowls Festival is returning. 

Marketing and Communications Manager for the food bank, Christine Taylor, said that COVID-19 played a significant role in the event being either cancelled or altered to be virtual, but more recently, it has been the demands that have been placed on the food bank.

"It was really because of our capacity and ability to hold the events. We are feeding 600 families a week and we didn't have the staff and volunteers to hold the event, the way that we would want to, in honouring our community," she said. "Because that's what [this is] a thank you to our community for their support."

Taylor estimates that over 100 individuals every day utilize the food bank's pantry program.

"We don't see that number going down. It is increasing; we've seen an increase in newcomers, to Airdrie and new to Canada. We are also seeing an increase in people who may have never needed to access a food bank before," Taylor added. "[It may be] a two-income family [whom] before COVID, they were managing and now with the cost of food and the cost of everything, and no rent control in Alberta, they're not able to make ends meet."

However, despite the demands continually increasing, Taylor said that the food bank and its volunteers are incredibly excited for the festival in September.

"We just really want to hold the event to celebrate the last four or five years."

Though the finer details of the event must be announced, Taylor said picking a weekend in September was also challenging as the food bank didn't want their event to take away from other local events that may be happening in the community during the same time.

According to the food bank's website, the family-friendly event will offer, 'local musicians, artists, children's activities, a silent auction, a free soup lunch and handmade pottery bowls for purchase.'

"All proceeds raised during the event directly support the Airdrie Food Bank, providing emergency food support to individuals and families in our community."

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