ST. ALBERT, AB, March 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, Alberta Food Banks received a donation of $250,000 – the largest single contribution ever made to the charity – from CIBC to support food banks around the province.
"This incredible gift from CIBC comes at a time when food banks are facing some of the highest increases in demand in many years and clearly illustrates CIBC's commitment to support Albertans," said Stephanie Rigby, executive director of the provincial food bank association.
Food bank usage in Alberta has soared dramatically since late 2014 and early last year the province out-paced all others in Canada with an increase of more than 23 per cent. By year-end food banks were reporting increases again, from 30-70 per cent.
Severe increases have been reported from food banks in Wood Buffalo, Airdrie, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Parkland County, Grande Prairie, Athabasca, Red Deer and in most of the smaller food banks around Alberta.
2016 is already setting records for increased usage and it is projected the strain on food banks may not subside until mid-late 2017. The pace of demand is overtaking the ability of most small food banks to generate the donations of food and funds to support their communities.
"Albertans pride themselves on pulling together and lending a helping hand during tough times," says Tom Weber, CIBC Senior Vice President and Alberta Region Head. "CIBC has been here for Albertans since we opened our first branch in 1886. We know the valuable work done by Alberta Food Banks will ensure our donation helps those in our communities who have been impacted by the recent economic downturn."
Ten per cent of food banks in Alberta reported they ran out of food at one point in the last year, forcing more than half of those food banks to purchase more food and one-third to shrink the size of the hampers they offered. Several food banks closed temporarily in 2015
CIBC's donation will be directed to support provincial food programs and help support the work on the ground at food banks across Alberta.
More than half of Alberta's food banks are completely run by volunteers and all rely primarily on public donations to support their work.
Ms. Rigby hopes this significant donation will spur on other businesses with a strong presence in Alberta to consider supporting their network of 66 food banks.
Alberta Food Banks encourages everyone to regularly donate funds or food to their local food bank. When donating food, consider giving the most nutritious food available – protein, hearty soups, pasta and sauce, cereal, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables.
SOURCE Alberta Food Banks
Image with caption: "Calgary Interfaith Food Bank is one of the 66 Alberta Food Banks members to benefit from CIBC's $250,000 donation. L-R Jeannette Madarash, CIBC Banking Centre Leader, Calgary, CIBC Region Heads John Steeves and Tom Weber, Dolores Coutts, Manager, Calgary Interfaith Food Bank, and Sherry Leslie, General Manager, Chinook Banking Centre, CIBC. (CNW Group/Alberta Food Banks)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160316_C8049_PHOTO_EN_644217.jpg
Image with caption: "Alberta Food Banks (CNW Group/Alberta Food Banks)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160316_C8049_PHOTO_EN_644245.jpg
For further information: Stephanie Rigby, 780-459-6893, [email protected]