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Wood Buffalo Food Bank Gears Up for 27th Annual Syncrude Drive

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It is one of their flagship events – and one requiring the most volunteers – the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association is gearing up for the 27th annual Syncrude Food Drive happening this weekend from November 29 to December 1, 2019.

Bringing in 30 per cent of annual donations, the Syncrude Food Drive averages 75,000lbs of food and $250,000 in donations. All local grocery stores, Walmart, and Anzac Grocery are partaking in the food drive.

Anna Noble, Communications & Development Manager for the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association notes, “The Syncrude Food Drive helps us feed families in the region throughout the winter months and into spring before our next major food drive. Our goal this year is to raise 80,000lbs and $300,000 as our need has not decreased much in the past year and we are cycling through food items quicker making it harder to keep the shelves full.”

Noble says it takes an average of 600 volunteers to host the four-day event. The group has averaged just over 500 volunteers in the last few years with many taking on extra shifts and filling in where needed.

And, at the moment the food bank shelves aren’t looking good.

“Our shelves are definitely not as full right now, but that is expected as we head into the Christmas season when we anticipate they will fill up again. However, the look of the shelves can change by the end of the day from when they were fully stocked in the morning. We average 30 monthly hampers going out the door daily, so the shelves don't stay full for very long. Additionally, since we can't control what gets donated, while we may have tons of one item we may have none of another. So it varies on a weekly basis, but our stock is getting low.”

The association’s current needs are: baby items, diapers sizes 5 and 6, cooking spices, canned Chunky soups, oatmeal, coffee, tea, pasta, and rice.

With the economic downturn, it would not come as a shock to anyone that the food bank demand has increased.

“We are averaging 600 monthly hampers each month, ranging from individuals to large families. This past year we served just over 16,389 people (8358 hampers), which was only slightly lower in individuals than the previous year but higher in hamper numbers. However it’s not always about numbers, we saw an increase in seniors and children accessing our services than previous years, and saw an increase in new clients as well,” adds Noble, who has been with the food bank for over four years.

The Syncrude Food Drive will kick-off with a Corporate Challenge on November 28 from 7am to 7pm which is a 12-hour radiothon in partnership with Country 93.3 and Rock 97.9. Syncrude starts off the challenge by announcing its annual corporate donation live on air.

Interested volunteers can sign up here:


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.