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Fort Macleod Food Bank has run short of supplies

jayden castelli

Salvation Army thrift store manager Jayden Castelli is appealing to Fort Macleod residents for donations to help restock the food banks shelves.

The Salvation Army Food Bank is desperately low on supplies as it struggles to meet the needs of about 35 households a month.
Lagging donations have forced staff to deplete even reserve supplies in order to provide hampers to people in need.
“This shortage has been slowly rearing its ugly head for the last four months now,” said Jayden Castelli, who manages the food bank and thrift store in Fort Macleod for the Salvation Army.
“We’ve been getting by with small donations coming in from the community,” Castelli said. “Now it’s to the point where it’s getting very difficult to fill the hampers with healthy food.”
When shelves are well stocked at the food bank, a medium-sized hamper will include cereal, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned vegetables, beans, sauce, tomato sauce or paste, soup, Ichiban soup, macaroni and cheese, pasta noodles, canned meat, cake mix, two packs of crackers, two litres of juice, margarine and two pounds of ground beef.
A single hamper under the right circumstances includes the same type of items, but in smaller portions.
It’s not unusual for the food bank’s supplies to decline at this time of the year as donations decrease.
Companies and schools usually plan to hold their annual food drives leading up to Christmas.
“That food supply takes us to about May and that’s when we start to have issues,” Castelli said. “That’s when we have to start asking around for food.”
This year, Castelli has seen a 10 to 15 per cent increase in the number of families coming in to pick up a hamper.
“I’m starting to see more and more larger families come in for food,” Castelli said. “That of course is where a large portion of our food goes out. The larger the family, the larger the hamper has to be.”
Castelli said it is no mystery why the demand for help from the food bank is growing in Fort Macleod.
“I think the economy plays a role in the number of people who are needing the food bank,” Castelli said. “I’ve seen a lot of people come in who have lost their jobs, or they’re having trouble finding work at this point in time, so that’s why they need the service.”
Castelli is hopeful the Fort Macleod community can help restock the food bank’s shelves with donations of non-perishable food items such as those listed earlier in this story.
“We can always use soup,” Castelli added.
The Salvation Army will also accept financial donations to buy food to stock the shelves.
The food bank is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
However, Castelli will also help people who need a hamper when the thrift store is open from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Donations can be dropped off for the food bank at its location at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue during thrift store hours.
A food drive is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 30 when people will be encouraged to help fill the Salvation Army truck with food supplies. Details are being finalized.

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