The NDP is calling on the UCP government to help out 853,000 Albertans, as research shows Alberta’s food insecurity is the highest across the country.

Meghan West, the Programs Manager at the Airdrie Food Bank says that June was their busiest month, seeing upwards of 1000 visits to their pantry program a month.  

“We normally don’t see these numbers unless it's around the holidays or Christmas time. So, so we’re seeing the need in our community right now”.  

Due to the high demand, the food bank is looking to lease or rent a warehouse in the city which is approximately 2,500 square feet so they can store items they purchase in bulk or non-food items that get donated as they run out of space.  

Airdrie is a very family-focused community with 45 per cent of the people the food bank support being kids. They launched the program, “After the Bell” which looks to help parents out as the school year approaches. 

“It was designed to provide some healthy food to kids and communities that rely on their school nutrition programs throughout the school year. The packs have high protein items, apples, yogurts, and items like that to supplement the pack”.  

West says the decision to buy a lot of these items, such as the high protein items, comes from the prices that can be charged for them at grocery stores. 

“The (high protein items) are often expensive for people to buy so they leave a gap in someone’s cupboard or a gap on their shelves”.  

For many people going to a food bank can be daunting and hurt their pride. West reminds people that many others are struggling like them.  

“We’re here if people need us and we recognize and see in our purchases the impacts of rising food prices. We have over 1000 visits to our pantry in a month, so you’re not alone in your struggle”. 

West added why she believes food banks are essential to the community. 

“Back in the day, people were connected to their neighbours, they knew who was struggling, who had a new baby, who had just had a loss, who was going through transition (in life). Now people are so busy that sometimes we’re not as tuned in to what’s happening. Food banks are a way to connect and give generously to your neighbours that you may not know, and give access to help people”. 

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