Calgary Food Bank Experiences Record Demand Amid Rising Prices Ahead of Thanksgiving

by Ella

Calgary, Alberta – The Calgary Food Bank has reported an unprecedented surge in demand for its services this year, with hundreds more families seeking assistance compared to the previous year. The organization’s president and CEO, Melissa From, attributed this surge to rising mortgage rates, increased gas prices, and escalating energy bills, all of which have placed a significant strain on households.

Last year, at the same time, the food bank was serving approximately 400 families daily. Today, the number has surged to 700 families seeking groceries that will sustain them for seven to ten days.


Disturbingly, statistics from the Calgary Foundation reveal that 26 percent of parents are skipping meals to ensure their children have enough to eat. Melissa From emphasized that if individuals find themselves skipping meals to provide for their children, they should not hesitate to reach out to the food bank for assistance.


To support Calgary residents in need, the food bank recently hosted its annual Canstruction event, where engineers, designers, and architects construct impressive structures using non-perishable food items. Since its inception in 2006, this event has contributed nearly 480,468 pounds of food to those facing food insecurity. This year’s event employs more than 10,000 cans in its creative designs.


Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who serves as one of the judges for the canned structures, expressed her understanding of the hardships many families are enduring. She urged those who can afford to donate to do so but emphasized that nobody should feel obligated to contribute if they are unable.


Amid preparations for Thanksgiving, Calgarians may experience sticker shock when purchasing traditional holiday meals for their families. Prices for classic Thanksgiving items like turkeys, potatoes, and bread have seen double-digit percentage increases. According to Statistics Canada, the average cost of a roast turkey dinner for a family of four, including all the traditional trimmings, now totals $203.95—an increase of 12 percent from the previous year.

Canadian food prices, in general, have seen an 11 percent overall increase as of August. Potatoes’ retail price per kilogram rose by 6.8 percent, butter increased by 9.2 percent, and brown rice was 6.3 percent more expensive than the previous year. Bread for stuffing experienced a particularly significant increase of 17.6 percent.

Retail analyst Bruce Winder suggested that families may need to adapt their Thanksgiving celebrations by hosting smaller gatherings or organizing potluck dinners. Additionally, opting for less expensive alternatives, such as frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones, could help mitigate rising costs.

In response to changing consumer needs, Calgary Co-op has introduced a new member-exclusive app designed to enhance transparency and offer personalized benefits to its customers. The app allows members to track their patronage accumulation in real time, providing a more immediate understanding of bonus cash earned through purchases. Calgary Co-op CEO Ken Keelor explained that the app also offers bonus cash earnings on specific items and features games with opportunities to win prizes or additional savings on in-store purchases.



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