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Ponoka Food Bank continues to see a hike in demand


Despite solid community support, the Ponoka Food Bank continues to face a rise in demand.

“As most food banks (are experiencing), there is an increase in the number of people that are accessing our food bank,” said Dean Hill, board chair.

The Ponoka Food Bank is located at 6B, 4612 - 50 St.

“There is also an increase in the number of people who need hampers as well as food from the free area.

“We are open three days a week, including Wednesday when we are open in the evening. When we started that, there wasn’t a ton of people who were coming in the evening, but that has changed,” he explained.

Looking back over the past five years, Hill said the food bank has seen a steady increase in demand from about 350 clients each month back then to more than 500 per month now.

Hill said clients include those affected by homelessness, those struggling to make ends meet on limited incomes, and increasingly folks who are fully employed but who are dealing with the ongoing effects of inflation.

“With the increases in everything — rent, gas, and all the rest of it, they just need that extra hand,” he said.

In terms of donations, things are pretty consistent — particularly with just coming off the holiday season which includes a stopover by the CP Holiday Train, which actively collects donations specifically for the local food bank.

“That sort of boosts the bank account for other times of the year when it’s a little more lean,” he said.

“We then have something to draw on. We purchase several thousand dollars’ worth of food every month besides food donations.”

Meanwhile, Hill is grateful for a supportive community of givers.

“Here in the Ponoka area, people are amazing. Twenty years ago when we were doing this, we also would have to have silent auctions and anything that we could do to raise some money.”

But there’s been a very positive development over the years, where several functions in the community will include a request for those taking part to bring along a donation to the food bank.

“People have been great,” he said.

These days, there is always room for donations of the staples in particular — non-perishable items, peanut butter, soups, etcetera.

It’s also important to remember donations that don’t require much in the way of preparation are always welcome, too, as some folks who visit the food bank don’t have a place to cook a dish.

The Ponoka Food Bank has been serving the community since 1984.

And as Hills noted, part of the organization’s success stems from its loyal team of volunteers.

“We have awesome volunteers,” said Hill, who has been with the organization for about 20 years.

“We are very fortunate.”

For Hill, serving with the food bank is a fulfilling role.

“I think that we are here to make the world a better place,” he said.

“I really believe that. I’m not here for me, it’s about whatever I can do.”

For more information, call 403-783-5910 or email

The food bank can also be found on Facebook.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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