Nearly a quarter of the people living in Fort McMurray are using the Wood Buffalo Food Bank.
That’s according to the Poverty Reduction Network which is made up of different local non-profits including the Food Bank.
In 2018, the organization helped around 23 per cent of the community’s population.
Executive Director Dan Edwards tells Mix News it’s tough to know so many people are struggling.
“I don’t want to have a job, I don’t want the food bank to have to exist but we do and these are the numbers, these are the numbers that are accurate – we’re seeing this many people coming through our doors.”
The Food Bank didn’t have the exact number for 2019 as there’s still two and a half months left, however, they are on pace to see a higher number of clients.
Edwards believes these stats are important for the community to know.
“It’s an alarming number to say, but I rather say an alarming number and get people knowing about it than not talk about it at all.”
The WBFB isn’t the only organization seeing an increase in service. The Salvation Army and Centre of Hope have seen higher numbers in the past few years.
Wood Buffalo Wellness Society Executive Director Jo-Anne Packham suggests more people are struggling than others wants to believe.
The WBWS notes around 20,000 people in Fort McMurray live under the poverty line, around half being children. The line was set at $39,000 per year.
“If you could imagine being a single parent making less than $39,000 paying rent, paying bills, trying to live – it is a struggle,” added Packham.
From October 15 – 22 the RMWB is recognizing Poverty Reduction Week. Multiple events are scheduled to increase the awareness and understanding of poverty.