Make ends meet a little easier with financial and food resources

Those living on a limited budget and struggling have options. Depending on the need, numerous non-profit organizations can help put food on the table or make life a little easier financially.

Edmonton’s Food Bank provides support to many families and individuals faced with food insecurity. Besides food, which is the focus of Edmonton’s Food Bank, items such as toiletries, feminine hygiene products, diapers, and household essentials such as washing liquids can be included in a food hamper if requested. These requests are fulfilled based on need and the availability of these products. A person in need of food support is encouraged to speak to a client services worker to access a food hamper. Client services will schedule a food hamper pick up at the food depot that is most convenient for the client. Identification for all members of the household must be provided at the assigned pickup location.

Samantha Potkins, special events & communications coordinator at Edmonton’s Food Bank, recommends reaching out to the Beyond Food program.

“It’s definitely worth a person’s time. Beyond Food provides drop-in services Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm covering a variety of needs, including employment preparation and safety tickets, money coaching, as well as English, math, and computer help. Our support and resource workers can help a person navigate through the system to access services ranging from housing subsidies to free recreation passes to settlement services.”

Another option is WECAN Food Basket Society, an organization that buys food in bulk and sells it for an affordable price. For an annual membership fee of $5, members can purchase a basket of produce ($10), meat ($15), or both ($25) on a monthly basis. Anyone can become a member.

With tax season coming up, a resource called Make Tax Time Pay may be useful for those on a low income. The program is available through e4c, a charitable organization. According to their website, “Failure to complete an annual income tax return results in loss of access to essential government programs for people who would otherwise qualify.”

During the tax season, people living within a certain income range can get their tax returns done for free.

Kourch Chan, e4c’s chief strategy officer, says, “Filing a tax return is important; it opens doors to not only tax refunds but also to benefits and subsidies that can help individuals and families increase their income and assets.”

Not only that, e4c also has resources for those threatened with homelessness apart from education and skill development services.

For general financial advice, Money Mentors offers free services directed at budgeting, savings, debt management, and financial literacy. Through their OPD (Orderly Payment of Debts) program, clients facing bankruptcy can combine their debts into one monthly payment at a guaranteed interest rate. There are no start-up fees. Appointments can be made either over the telephone, in person, or via Skype.

So, if you are feeling less fortunate, don’t hesitate! Pick up the phone and access some resources.

RESOURCES 780.424.7543 1.888.294.0076 780.413.4525 780.425.4190

Affordable housing:

211: a 24-hour information and referral line.

Suit Yourself: Business attire for disadvantaged women searching for jobs. 780.488.9930

Featured Image: Living on a low income is hard, so take advantage of available resources. | Nazreena Anwar-Travas