Food Banks Canada released their annual HungerCounts report with 2016 national food bank usage statistics on November 15. The same day, Airdrie Food Bank and Food Banks Alberta released a joint press release regarding food bank usage in Alberta.
The report indicated an increase in food bank usage province wide. Executive Director of the Airdrie Food Bank Lori McRitchie indicated a particular increase in Airdrie.
"The Alberta increase that was found by Food Banks Canada was 18%," said McRitchie "Our increase over the last year, and we've done kind of a 12 month analysis, we are up 59% from last year."
McRitchie also said that the Airdrie Food Bank has noticed an increase in returning clients. "Our average use in 2014 was 2.6 times. You're allowed to come 6 times in a calendar year. People only came until they got back on their feet. Now we are finding that our average use has increased and we're up to 3.9 at this point which is higher than we ever thought it would be."
McRitchie pointed to job loss, diminished work hours, and the increase in minimum wage as connected factors contributing to the increased use of the Food Bank.
Despite increased demand, the Airdrie Food Bank has been able to supply hampers to those in need. McRitchie thanked the community for its generosity and support, and hopes to remind the community that there are people in the community that need help all year round, not just over the Christmas season.