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Increased food bank usage and needs in the Pass

Exterior of the Crowsnest Pass Food Bank at 11910, 19 Avenue in Blairmore. (Crowsnest Pass Food Bank photo)

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Jul 12, 2023

The Crowsnest Pass Food Bank has seen an increase in users, including seniors and minors.

The Crowsnest Pass Food Bank has seen an increase in users, including seniors and people under the age of 18. 

Crowsnest Pass Food Bank posted on their Facebook page on June 14 recent user stats for their services. Currently 7.5 per cent of the Crowsnest Pass is accessing the food bank. They have also seen an increase of 53 per cent users since the same time last year and 31 per cent of clients are under the age of 18.

Desiree Erdmann, Manager of the Crowsnest Pass Food Bank, has worked there since 2011. Since she started there, she said, “the needs have increased slowly over the years,” with dietary needs changing and the need for freezers and storage space. The food bank is currently struggling to keep an overstock of food in their warehouse. 

“Food is out the door as fast as it comes in and ordering, pick-ups and deliveries require much more time than it used to,” said Erdmann.

The food bank is seeing an increasing number of seniors and people living on fixed incomes. 

“We are currently seeing more single and double-income families access the food bank who are employed but their incomes are still too low to make ends meet,” added Erdmann.

The need for the food bank in the Crowsnest Pass has seen a significant increase in the past year, with Erdmann expecting the need to grow. For those looking to offer donations, there are a few things to look for when bringing in food.

“One way you can help is by checking your donations prior to drop off. Does the item have a label? Is it more than 12 months past the best before date? Discard any cans with dents on the top or bottom seam and any cans with a sharp dent. Sorting donations is very time consuming and the community checking before donating allows us to make the best use of our time,” explained Erdmann.

According to Erdmann, the best way to start decreasing those numbers is access to affordable housing in the Crowsnest Pass. The increasingly high costs of housing are one of the most “pressing factors” bringing people into the food bank.

“Shelter is a non-negotiable priority for any individual or family and as the cost of housing rises and availability is low, households are sacrificing everything they can to keep a roof over their heads. This struggle often leads to no excess money to purchase food, it also leads to poor health, debt, increased stress and mental illness, and the inability to pay other bills,” said Erdmann.

She said community support from residents and business owners has always been amazing. Erdmann explained how the easiest part of keeping the food bank running is having a great group of volunteers. 

“We are so fortunate to have an amazing team of community volunteers who stick around year after year,” said Erdmann.

The Crowsnest Pass Food Bank has their annual Darcy Draper Fundraiser on September 23 and will roll out their second Coldest Night of the Year Campaign later in the year. If you are interested in donating an auction item or have any questions, please connect with Desiree at

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