The generosity of Chestermerians reached record levels this past December during Safeway’s annual food hamper drive.
“It’s amazing we were all very enthusiastic and shocked at how much we actually earned over the month of December,” said Kim Koskinen the staff, Charity Captain at Safeway.
Through the month of December, residents donated $13,909 in Safeway gift cards in addition to food hampers at the annual charity fundraiser.
Shoppers were asked to donate to the food bank as they went through the tills.
“Our girls would ask for donations or they could buy a hamper we have a $5 and $10 hamper,” said Koskinen.
“Everybody that came through…they were very, very generous this year,” she said.
Koskinen said that she’s not sure what led to the increased generosity last December describing the success of the campaign as amazing.
“Our other years, the most I think we ever did was $8000 so this year was just like blew it out of the park,” she said, “It was just amazing this year.”
Food Bank Executive Director Mardi Oel said that the donation May 3 of the funds raised in December comes at a perfect time.
“This is just perfect cause we’re down to our last $80 gift card from Safeway,” she said.
Oel said that donations of gift cards and cash allow the food bank to provide fresh foods to their clients without worrying about it spoiling on the shelves at the food bank.
“Now we can just kind of just buy them without pressure,” she said.
While the food bank is still seeing fairly high demand for their services in Chestermere, Oel said that this donation will last them into 2019.
“Because we’re very frugal we will stretch it out probably for a year,” she said.
Their ability to stretch out the funds is important since the food banks has been serving about 30 clients, many of them new, each month this year.
“I think a lot for clients are just finding it’s hard to make ends meet,” said Oel of the continued demand for food hampers.
“These new clients, most of them work,” she said.