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Jasper food bank hopes for donation adjustment

by Evan Matthews | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

Though short on some items, the Jasper Food Bank has an excess of foods the organization simply can’t use.

Food bank president Ginette Marcoux says while the organization is thankful for every donation it receives, there is a way to put your donations to the test before drop off.

“Food banks follow the Canada Food Guide,” says Marcoux. “Because the food guide is most food banks’ bible, we really try to stay within that parameter.”

Another safeguard to avoid a stockpile of unusable goods is to keep in mind the food bank’s demographic.

The majority of people who access the food bank are under the age of 30.

“There is a wide range in demographics, but lots of people who come who have very minimal cooking skills, and (sometimes) only have a microwave,” says Marcoux. “To think they will make cakes… Or use sweetened condensed milk…I can’t believe how much of this stuff we have.”

Marcoux greatly emphasized the food bank’s gratitude for all donations, but also reiterated the need for appropriate donations, as the organization is volunteer run and has a small staff.

“We’ve spent so much time and energy unloading, reorganizing, and reorganizing,” says Marcoux. “Every little bit helps.”

Good examples of items the food bank cannot use include two-litre soft drink bottles, candy, chips, cake mix, salad dressing, bags of sugar, pancake mix, popcorn kernels and Chef Boyardee.

On the other side of the chocolate coin, examples of usable Canada Food Guide approved food include personally sized containers of peanut butter, canned fruit, canned soup, canned tuna, ham, chicken or salmon, oatmeal and juices.

 

Another good approach to donating, according to Marcoux, is to think in terms of a full meal.

“That way we know for sure they’ve got at least a couple of really good meals,” says Marcoux. “But it can be simple stuff.”

Even boxes of Kraft Dinner or ramen noodles are acceptable to the CFG and the food bank – if they’re not already expired.

It’s a little known fact outside food bank circles that expired donations eat up too much time and resources from volunteers who may already be spread pretty thin.

 

Jasper Food Bank data shows through the months of September to December 2017, 93 single people, 14 couples with no children, and six families accessed the food bank. That translates to 113 interactions for the food bank. In that group, 83 were employed, just 17 unemployed, four were on a pension and two indicated they are on income assistance.

The data shows six people were living with friends or family, and five people indicated they had nowhere to live.

 

To access the Jasper Food Bank, you’ll need to present a piece of photo ID, Marcoux says, and more information is available by emailing jasperfoodbank@gmail.com.

The food bank is open from 6 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday nights in the basement of St. Mary and St. George Anglican Church.

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