As the charity braces for a holiday season clientele nearly 45 per cent larger than its normal traffic, demands for the Calgary Food Bank are rising in tandem with social assistance needs, states a University of Calgary study.

The study, conducted by the U of C’s School of Public Policy, shows that the demand for both took off soon after the oil price plunge of late 2014, and that for every 100 additional provincial social aid cases, the food bank picked up 57 more clients.

“The correlation is stronger than I expected it to be,” said U of C economist Dr. Ron Kneebone.

“I’m also shocked at the spike of food bank clients in December, at Christmas.”

Demand at the food bank, which provided data for Kneebone’s study, will likely reach 20,500 clients this month compared with about 14,000 in May, said food bank president James McAra.