Diamond Valley firefighters will soon be going door-to-door in an effort to fill the shelves at the Oilfields Food Bank.
Firefighters will make the rounds in Turner Valley on Nov. 13 and will be in Black Diamond on Nov. 14, from about 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each day.
“We’re tremendously grateful for every item,” said food bank vice president Karen Milne.
People who won’t be at home can leave donations in a box or bag at their front door, Milne said.
“This one food drive really fills our shelves for quite a few months, and it's really the only community food drive in the area,” she said.
Firefighters will also accept cash or cheques made out to the Oilfields Food Bank.
Milne asks that people check expiry dates and not include anything that’s well past the date.
Doing so ahead of time saves a lot of volunteer hours, she said.
Needed items include canned soup, stews, meat and fruit, as well as peanut butter and jam, baking supplies and coffee.
Milne said the food bank has plenty of spaghetti and kidney beans, and over 50 cases of chickpeas.
Not only does the food drive help stock the shelves, it gives the food bank items that it doesn't usually buy.
People often want to give something that is special to them, like a favourite kind of cookie, she said.
“That makes a big difference to what we would call our our extras shelves," Milne said.
Clients can peruse the extras shelf, where the random items go, after they have the staples that make up a regular food hamper, she said.
“That gives them the option of a lot of different things, once the community food drive items come in.”
The food bank is also accepting small, unopened items for the last-minute gift table that’s set up while people pick up Christmas hampers.
Items can include toiletries such as bubble bath or soap, or things like socks and gloves.
Food bank demand hasn't lessened after a 30 per cent increase in the last few years, she said.
“We're getting more first-time people coming through the door,” she said.
There are also more working households, where everybody's employed, accessing the food bank where there isn’t enough money for food at the end of the month.
She said that across Canada, food bank usage has increased 22 per cent since 2022 and 78 per cent since 2019.
Although usage statistics aren’t in for the end of October, Milne said her gut feeling is that it will be the busiest month on record at the Oilfields Food Bank.