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Updated: 16th September 2018 23:45

Use is up 8% from last year, says head of Calgary Food Bank

James McAra says a lot of the people they help are the working poor, and that the need is growing.

James McAra says fear of an empty pantry is a problem in the city and beyond

James McAra, the president of the Calgary Food Bank, says about 180,000 people use the food bank each year. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The head of the Calgary Food Bank says the need is greater than ever this holiday season.

James McAra says a lot of the people who rely on the food bank to put food on the table are the working poor, and the demand for assistance this winter is unprecedented. 

"I would love to say it's down," he said. "Unfortunately it's up 8 per cent from last year, so we're soaring at heights we've never experienced before."

He said families, in particular, are struggling. 

"Calgary and Alberta are creeping up in the fear of 'where is my next meal coming from?' Or 'what do I have in the kitchen?' Unfortunately you can look a child and say, 'the kids are being fed.' But that means that typically the parents are doing without," he said. 

"You have to look at the whole family. And across everything that we've seen, it's a bigger and bigger concern all the time."

McAra says about 180,000 people use the food bank in Calgary each year.

CBC Calgary kicked off its annual food bank drive on Friday. Donations can be made in person at the CBC Calgary studios (1000 Veterans Place N.W.) or online

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