By Nikki Jamieson
Next week, the local food bank is aiming to fill school buses up with food.
The Stuff-a-Bus campaign for the Taber and District Food Bank will be taking place on Tuesday, Dec. 6.\
This is the food bank’s big winter collection push, and the food collected from this campaign will help carry them through to spring.
Last year, the campaign collected 5,500 lbs of food for the food bank. However, while this may seem a lot, organizers say it doesn’t stretch as far as one would think. The average four-person hamper weighs 65 lbs, or costs roughly $250 to fill. That means that last year, they had collected enough to fill about 84 hampers. Although hampers are only given out on a monthly basis, in April earlier this year 180 hampers were given out.
Food Banks typically see an increase in use during winter, due to higher overhead costs for families. With the addition of the Christmas hamper — which 180 users have already signed up for — the food bank is in dire need to fill the buses.
“We know more then ever we’re down on food, so we need to help replenish ourselves, because this will be the food drive that carries us through to the spring.” said Tamara Miyanaga, fundraising coordinator for the food bank. “We have had a downturn in the oilfield economy, so it’s more important then ever to got those food donations, because the oilfield companies, who historically supported us, may not be able to support us as much as they had in the past. Some of them have still been fantastic, but they have less to donate.”
“We do a big one (food drive) in the fall,” said Vicki Koersen, Taber Food Bank Society president. “That was just over 11,000 lbs. That would last us until Christmas. So it looks like a huge amount of food, it doesn’t last very long. So this one in December makes us through until March-ish. We kind of time events were we’re getting replenished stocks about three times a year.”
While you may be tempted to sneak the fruitcake your aunt sent you onto the bus, please remember that the TDFB does abide by the Canadian Food Guide when crafting it’s hampers. One item they are particularly in need of this year is protein, such as canned meats. The Stuff-a-Bus campaign busses will be available at the Taber Co-op and IGA. The buses will be supplied by 1st Student, and high school students from St. Mary’s, W.R. Myers, MAP and Ace Place will be manning the buses.
“This is our sixth year (for Stuff-a-Bus), and they have done it every year,” said Miyanaga. “It’s a huge help for us, and it is good for them to receive their service hours and give back to the community.”
“We’re very grateful for the support this community has provided,” said Koersen. “It’s been huge, the last few years, just how much the community has come together to support the food bank, and we appreciate it. We know people’s pockets aren’t deep, we understand that, but we also know how giving and supportive our community is.”