Latest Videos from CTV Edmonton
Food Bank still shy of donation goal, despite record attendance at Heritage Festival
Published Tuesday, August 8, 2017 7:18PM MDT
Days after making a public plea for Food Bank donations, the organization said they still need more donations after a busy weekend at the Heritage Festival.
For the last few years, Edmonton’s Food Bank has set a donation goal of 50,000 kilograms of food for the Heritage Festival. The event wrapped up Monday with record attendance, but the Food Bank said they’re still about 20 percent shy of their goal.
About 500,000 people attended the festival at Hawrelak Park over the weekend, an increase of about 200,000 people.
Ahead of the festival, the Food Bank said their shelves were bare, and the organization was depending on purchased food to meet the need. Since 2014, the organization said the number of people relying on its services had doubled.
Executive Director Marjorie Bencz said the Food Bank is thankful for the donations made during the festival, and said it could be a sign of the economic times.
“I think there are families that are on the edge in our community that have been employed in the past, who are unemployed right now,” Bencz said. “They are being very challenged making a dollar stretch and one thing that drops out most quickly is your donations to charities.”
Plus, there is no admission cost to attend the Heritage Festival, which organizers said could be why attendance grew so much.
Higher attendance caused major delays for people being shuttled by bus to the festival on Sunday. Organizers said they’re working with the city to improve the park and ride system – but suggested it could be as easy as attendees taking a different ride altogether.
“I think one of the things that we can do starting right now before we even talk to transit is to get more people to come down by bicycle,” Festival Executive Director Jim Gibbon said. “We have these two giant bicycle compounds so looks like we should at least double those or triple those next year.”
As for the Food Bank, donations are still being accepted at Fire Halls and major grocery stores throughout the city – meanwhile, the organization is tallying monetary donations, and leftover food tickets from the event.
It’s expected the goal of 50,000 kilograms of food will last about a month.
With files from Jonathan Glasgow