03/18/2016 10:42 EDT | Updated 03/19/2017 01:12 EDT

Alberta Food Banks get largest-ever donation from CIBC as demand soars

CALGARY — Alberta Food Banks says it has received its largest-ever donation as the worst economic downturn in decades causes demand to soar.

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM) is contributing $250,000 to the charity as food banks across the province struggle to keep pace with the need.

The organization says food bank usage has spiked since late 2014, when oil prices began their steep descent, eventually leading to tens of thousands of job losses.

It says 10 per cent of Alberta food banks ran out of food at one point last year — causing some to shrink the size of the hampers offered and others to even close temporarily.

This year is already setting records for increased demand and Alberta Food Banks says the strain may not ease until mid-to-late 2017.

Executive director Stephanie Rigby says she hopes CIBC's donation causes other businesses to follow suit.