The Wood Buffalo Food Bank is expecting a surge in demand this fall as government supports introduced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic end.
In a Thursday interview, executive director Dan Edwards said he has heard food bank demand has already risen in other communities as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program finishes at the end of the month.
“I’m foreseeing we will see an increase from that,” said Edwards. “We’re the ones that are still going to be here when everything else that was a temporary fix runs out. That’s what we’re here for.”
A potential second wave in the winter could also pressure the food bank if emergency relief programs do not return.
“Do I foresee increases if we have a second wave? Yes, it’s probably going to impact us,” said Edwards. “I’m always preparing for our numbers to be going up.”
Edwards said it is difficult to gauge how many more clients came to the food bank when COVID-19 lockdowns triggered panic buying and job losses in March.