COVID-19 in Sask.: As meals financial institution demand rises, Saskatoon grocery shops step up

With 10 days until Christmas, some Saskatoon grocery stores are ramping up their calls for food donations.

Superstore, Extra Foods, Independent, Wholesale Club and No Frills stores are collecting donations of non-perishable food items and cash which will all go to the food bank.

“We are seeing an increase in folks needing to use our services and we expect that to continue for the next 20 months or so,” said Laurie O’Connor, executive director of the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

According to Food Banks Canada, since the start of the pandemic food bank visits have increased by more than 20 per cent nationally, which rivals the 2008 recession when it comes to food insecurity.

In Saskatchewan, single adult households represent 24.1 percent of households accessing food banks. Children made up 39.8 per cent of Saskatchewan food bank visits, while seniors made up 4.8 per cent.

Wes Johnson, the manager at the Superstore in Confederation Park, hopes the generosity he’s seen since the Loblaw Holiday Food Drive started at the beginning of December continues.

“The donation bin is doing great. We’re getting pick-ups from the food bank every week and from a money standpoint, people are giving more this year than they have ever before,” Johnson says.

The most needed items include pasta, pasta sauce, canned meats, fish, vegetables and fruit, whole grain cereals, baby foods and formula, bathroom tissue, diapers and personal hygiene products.

Donation bins for food items can be found in-store and monetary donations are accepted at the checkout.

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