After missing out on its biggest fundraiser last year, Edmonton’s Food Bank were back at William Hawrelak Park this long weekend accepting food and cash donations during the Heritage Festival.
Executive director Marjorie Bencz said the food bank is happy to be physically back at the festival, but they are also accepting donations in other ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been encouraging people to drop stuff off at grocery stores or make online contributions so there is less touching and stuff down here,” she said. “We do have a presence at three locations because of course we know people are used to bringing food and money down here.”
Bencz said the goal at the festival is to typically raise 50,000 kilograms of food donated, however this year’s goal is 40,000 pounds to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary.
“I think we’re sitting at about half that when you weigh in what happened at grocery stores from Monday until now,” she said. “Our trucks are picking up from stores today as well and we are hoping that they will come back full and we’ll be here again tomorrow.”
Celebration of diversity
After missing out on last year’s festival, Bencz said it’s important for the organization to be back at the park to celebrate the diversity of the city.
Bencz said the food bank’s staff is also diverse and speak a combined total of 19 languages — that number increases when you include volunteers.
“We’ve always been really proud to be affiliated with the Edmonton Heritage Festival because it is a celebration of that diversity in our community,” said Bencz.
“It’s so inclusive, it’s such a huge celebration and breaks down barriers.”