Poverty CostsOver the past eight months the Poverty Costs  campaign (a joint initiative between the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre and several other organizations, including the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition, Upstream, Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership  & Unite) have been raising awareness about the economic impact of poverty in Saskatchewan, recently calculated to be $3.8 billion dollars a year, and giving Saskatchewan citizens the opportunity to voice their support for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.

Saskatchewan is one of only two provinces in Canada without a poverty reduction plan.  There are many programs and services intended to reduce poverty, but there isn't a comprehensive plan that brings those initiatives together with targets, timelines and accountability measures – the very things we know are critical to the success of any goal.

[Tweet "#WeDidIt"]



On Wednesday Oct.22 Poverty Costs had the honor of visiting the Legislative buildings in Regina for the Government’s Throne Speech and the exciting announcement that the Government of Saskatchewan is committing to the development of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.  This announcement is the culmination of many years work by committed individuals, organizations and groups who work every day to raise awareness about poverty and the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.  We’ve taken a critical first step in the journey towards development and implementation and look forward to working closely with the Government of Saskatchewan and other stakeholders in months to come.

photo credit:Morgan Modjeski/Metro

"A Ghoulishly Good Time for a Franken Awesome Cause!"

Join in on the Halloween fun!


On Halloween instead of candy, join volunteers and go off campus to ask for  non-perishable food items for the  Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. Last year over  250 volunteers collected and donated 7500 pounds of food! See instructions below on how to join in on the Halloween fun!



Instructions2This is happening right across Canada. Hunger is on the rise in Canada. As of 2012, it was reported that 1.4 million Canadian households experience food insecurity, which amounts to nearly 1 in 8 households. That means that 4 million individuals, including 1.15 million children do not have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. This is a 15% increase from 2012 when 3.5 million Canadian were food insecure.

This year, Trick or Eat will be launching a national conversation about how to end hunger in Canada.
#trickoreat your selfies throughout the night to raise awareness for hunger in Canada!
A conversation will be facilitated over twitter and at Everyone is encouraged to lend their voice and join in!
[Tweet "With hunger in Canada on the rise, what can Canadians do to end it? "]

3rd Annual Saskatoon Canstruction Oct. 4 to 18

The third annual Canstruction building competition gets underway this Saturday Oct. 4th at Market Mall. Come on down after 9am to watch the Cansculptures taking shape and vote on your favourite. If you can't make it down for build day they'll be on display until Saturday Oct.18th. All cans will be donated to the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. 



Friday, December 14, 2012, 4:00 pm - Midnight

Saskatoon’s best jazz piano players donate their time and talents as the Bassment collects food and cash donations for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre. Starting at 4:00pm and running until midnight, the show features Neil Currie, Irene Elliott, Troy McGillvray, Sheldon Corbett, Ken Pizurny, Kim Salkeld, Fintan Quinn, Ray Stephanson, Maurice Drouin, Jesse Brown, Brett Balon, Don Griffith,  and Martin Janovsky. Suggested Cover – two items for the Foodbank.

Saskatoon Blades Partner with Saskatoon Food Bank

The Saskatoon Blades have teamed up with the Saskatoon Food Bank to bring some extra cheer to those in need this holiday season. For the Blades 5 home games during the month of December, they are asking that fans bring out non-perishable food items to donate to the Saskatoon Food Bank.  With your donation you will not only be helping those who need it most, but you will also be entered to win a fantastic prize!

For every item of food you bring to donate, you will receive an entry form for a draw to win a pair of leather Saskatoon Blades recliners courtesy of Furniture World!

Cash donations will also be accepted, with all funds going to the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre.

In case you forget to bring your non-perishable food items, pre-made baskets will also be on hand at the Credit Union Centre for purchase and donation to the Food Bank during our December games.

The Saskatoon Blades and the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre would also like to take the time to thank Windsor Plywood for their generosity.  For each Blades home goal scored during the month of December, Windsor Plywood will be donating $100 to the Saskatoon Food Bank.

A Saskatoon Food Bank Story...

If you believe the weather reports it’s -11 degrees Celsius outside tonight. For one woman waiting in the dark and freezing and rain outside the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre, it feels a lot colder. By the time I see Anne (name changed for privacy reasons) she has been waiting in the cold for just under an hour.  I could tell from the assortment of groceries carefully arranged on her motorized scooter that she had recently visited the food bank.  I watched her from inside of my car, where I sat waiting for the engine to warm so I could drive away from a long day of work at the food bank.  As I watched the woman she appeared to be nodding off to sleep, although it was hard to see through the heavy frozen rain falling.

I have to be honest. As I sat there watching her from inside my still-cold car there was a part of me that wanted to drive away.  I was already late to pick up my kids from daycare, dinner needed to be made and I desperately wanted to get to my cozy little home before the weather worsened. A text message from a dear friend popped up on my phone.  Drive safe, it read.  I have so much support, I thought.  Of course I couldn’t just drive away.

I approached and called out to the woman, “Are you okay?”  She told me she was waiting for her bus and that it was very late.  I invited her to wait in my car while I dialed the number for the wheelchair accessible bus service.  As she navigated through the snow and into the front seat of my car I peered through her broken glasses and into her eyes.  It was a very familiar look.

It was the same look I had seen just an hour earlier inside of the food bank office.  We were about to lock the doors for the day when a man entered, his glasses also frosted over from the cold.  “Is this where you go if you’re starving,” he asked.  That familiar look in his eyes is one that I will never get accustomed to.  It’s hard to describe, a mixture of desperation, anxiety and humility.  My coworkers smiled warmly, “Yes, we can help”, they told him.

As we helped him pack his backpack with supplies you could sense his relief.  He thanked us for our help and told us his story.  He had badly broken his elbow and was unable to work while he waited for surgery.  A paperwork error meant his disability assistance payments were delayed, and he had been living for some time without any income.  He’ll be okay, I thought at the time.  His elbow will heal and he’ll be able to work again. He’ll soon be back on his feet.

It may not be the same for Anne.  As a senior with a disability, her options are very limited.  While we chatted in the car she told me how excited she was to get bananas in her food basket that day.  “I can’t eat gluten,” she said.  “Fruit in the winter is such a treat.”  I told Anne about the gluten-free food basket program the food bank would soon be offering and how it was started by a concerned community member.  She was excited to hear about it, but it left me feeling unsettled.  This woman shouldn’t have to rely on the food bank.  It’s not fair that vulnerable people in our community should be forced to turn to charity just to have their basic needs met.

When I finally made contact with the bus service they told me the busses were running late due to the extreme weather.  The person on the phone was very nice, and apologized for the trouble.  But Anne wasn’t upset. “What can you do?” she said.  “They’re doing their best”.  I’m not sure I would have been so understanding.

It would be another 50 minutes that we waited together for the bus.  Inside the car we chatted about our holiday plans and listened to the sound of the car engine humming and ice pellets hitting the windshield.  Anne thanked me over and over and told me she could wait on her own. “I don’t want to be a bother”, she said.  The truth is she wasn’t  a bother at all.  She was amazing.  Her quiet strength, resiliency and underlying optimism left me feeling humbled and inspired.  After all, my life is so easy.  I have a whole network of people to turn to when I need help.  I could order pizza for dinner.  And just one quick call to my husband and he set off to pick up the kids from daycare...because we have two cars.

By the time the bus pulled up (nearly two hours after Anne started waiting) two more people had approached to ask if we needed help, one a neighbouring business owner who saw the abandoned scooter and the other a person I knew from the food bank’s learning centre programs.  The bus driver helped Anne navigate her scooter onto the bus and apologized over and over for being so late.  She seemed to really care about her.

When we said goodbye Anne threw her arms around me to give me a giant hug.  “What would I have done without you?” she smiled.

As I drove away I thought about Anne, the man with the broken elbow, and all the people I met at work that day, some who came to use the food bank, and others who came to donate to the food bank.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  I see amazing things every day.  People who refuse to let their struggles define them.  They are full of strength and hope in spite of their difficulties.  And people who truly care.  They care enough to help complete strangers, without ever seeing the tremendous impact of their kindness.

I’ve worked for over six years at the food bank.  We receive over twelve thousand requests for food every month.  That’s twelve thousand stories of families brave enough seek out support, and twelve thousand times our community has responded.

When I arrive at home I am greeted with more hugs and two little voices calling “Mommy!”  I hold my children, but like so many other nights it feels more like they are holding me.