by Colin Smith

With food bank use increasing in Canadian communities, and no more so than in Alberta, they can use all the help they can get in feeding the hungry.

Morinville residents will have a great opportunity to do their bit during the 2015 Fill-A-Bus campaign that kicks off the Lite Up The Nite Christmas Festival.

Once again the Morinville Community Bus is the focus of this two-day effort by the Town’s Community Services Department and the Morinville Food Bank Society.

They’re hoping town residents will fill the bus with non-perishable food items, cleaning and personal care items, and cash donations.

On Thursday, Nov. 26 26 the bus will be travelling around the community gathering donations from area schools and businesses that have signed up to be collection points.

The next day it will be at Morinville No Frills from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Morinville Sobeys from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m, where volunteers and ‘a few familiar faces’ will be on hand to accept donations.

Organizers are hoping for a substantial increase in donations over last year, a year where the amount collected actually declined.

“We did experience an unfortunate dip last year, predominantly due to what I’ve dubbed ‘Snowmageddon’,” said organizer Melodie Steele. “Over the course of the two event days, the area received an inordinate amount of snow, coupled with very cold temperatures and extreme wind chill.”

The total of donations collected during the two days of the 2014 campaign last year was 3,546 pounds, less than half of 2013’s total of 7,255 pounds of food and household items.

However, Champion Petfoods donated an entire pallet of pet food weighing more than 2,000 pounds, and the $4,478 in monetary donations surpassed the $3,231 collected in 2013.

According to the 2015 Hunger Count report from Food Banks Canada, across the country food bank use is up about 1.3 per cent over last year, but jumped by 23 per cent in Alberta.

To volunteer for Fill-A-Bus or register a business as a collection point, contact Community Services at 780-939-7840.

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