From binge to bust: A Canadian oil town lines up at the food bank

Dan Edwards watched Fort McMurray, Alberta, turn into the insolvency capital of Canada from a brown brick warehouse on King Street, home to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank.

Ten years ago, about 2,000 people came by every month for jars of peanut butter and cans of soup. Now, he and his staff help feed four times that. Before, the clientele was mostly folks struggling to pay rents that shot up during the oil boom. Today, it’s often men and women who were living high before the bust. Sometimes, they pull up in shiny pickups purchased just a year or two ago.

“You never know who’s going to walk through your door,” said Edwards, the food bank’s director. “Individuals that have degrees and education and skills—but the jobs just aren’t what they were.”

 

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