Alberta’s economic downturn putting pressure on groups that help people in need

Alberta's economic downturn is putting pressure on charities that help people in need.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s economic downturn is putting pressure on charities that help people in need.

Demand at food banks in Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray is up, swollen by growing numbers of the unemployed.

The Salvation Army says demand for food and other services, especially in smaller communities, is up by about 30 per cent from last year.

The non-profit STARS air ambulance service says it may not sell all of the tickets for its annual fundraising lottery for the first time in 23 years.

STARS, which is partly funded by the province, depends on the lottery for about one-third of its budget.

Last month, Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent — up from 4.6 for the same time in 2015 — and some economists believe the jobless rate could grow higher.

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