‘We’re off to a banging begin’: Saskatoon café amassing donations this month for meals financial institution

A cafe in Saskatoon’s City Park neighbourhood is trying to fill the void inside since moving to takeout and curbside pickup.

From now until Dec. 22, City Perks Cafe is encouraging friends and neighbours to helps fill the cafe with donations for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

“We wanted to have some fun with the circumstances, so why not do it for a good cause? And we’ve got all this space, so let’s try and fill it up with food for people who may be a little less fortunate,” said cafe manager Tania Friesen.

Since Saskatoon’s new infection rates saw a steady rise, Friesen said the cafe has ended dine-in service as a way to not encourage larger gatherings.

The space usually seats around 30 people and she hopes customers take the time to bring non-perishable food donations for a social service in need.

“We launched yesterday, but we’re off to a banging start.”

City Perks cafe is located on the corner of Princess Street and Seventh Avenue North.

Donation collection comes at a critical time for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre. Executive director Laurier O’Connor said the organization has seen an increase in individuals seeking services and assistance from the food bank, as federal COVID-19 benefits have ended.

“Now that the federal benefits have run out I think there are more folks who are struggling,” O’Connor said. “We’ve seen some new people asking about our programs and coming through our doors so we know families are definitely struggling as the pandemic continues.”

Similar to other social services and organizations, the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre has pivoted to meet the demands of those needed a healthy meal over the past eight months. From delivering food hampers to individuals and families staying at home to preparing to go bags for those still attending the Riversdale centre, O’Connor said grocery and financial donations have not slowed down.

“We had just as much food going out the door, maybe not as many people at our doorstep though.”

The Saskatoon Food Bank recently launched its holiday campaign “ All of Us! Unite Against Hunger” calling on the community for donations and funds to support the growing need in Saskatoon and area. Nutrien has once again kicked off the holiday campaign with a $250,000 donation to food banks across the province.

“All of us need to unite against hunger and so we need to continue to understand that hunger and poverty in our community are a shared responsibility and we’re asking folks to continue to support us,” O’Connor said, adding the most in demand items can be found on the organization’s social media pages.

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