Janet Griffith, director of the Sylvan Lake Community Food Bank, smiles in front of the shelves on Aug. 26. She is expecting a busy fall season as kids return to the classroom. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake food bank anticipating busy back-to-school season

Director Janet Griffith says the food bank is looking for donations of school lunch items

The Sylvan Lake Community Food Bank is bracing for the approaching fall season.

Director Janet Griffith is anticipating an uptake as kids go back to school and potentially another in the spring when taxes are due.

“It hasn’t been busy,” explained Griffith, adding other food banks are experiencing the same trends and wonders if the CERB program isn’t what is keeping clients at bay.

Going into what she expects to be a busy season the food bank is trying to increase the inventory of fresh fruits and vegetables, Kraft Dinner, canned foods and school lunch items.

Individual juice boxes, fruit cups, puddings, cookies, crackers, jams and muffin mixes are all items which fall under the school lunch items category.

“Those are always important for school-aged kids, so we’re trying to plan ahead a little bit for that,” she said.

Griffith says the food bank is always looking for donations, whether they be monetary or physical items.

Donations can be dropped off at the food bank on Wednesday mornings. Food donations are also accepted at the Sylvan Lake Sobeys and monetary donations are also accepted via eTransfer.

“There have been people in the community that have had garage sales and all the proceeds come to us, or food drives, there’s a couple food drives coming up with some clubs and stuff,” explained Griffith. “They’ve really stepped up to the plate, we can’t complain.”

She says the churches, businesses and private individuals have supported the food bank product-wise and financially, which has set them up to be able to buy whatever groceries they need.

“With food coming in from just anywhere it’s kind of tricky sometimes,” Griffith said, “we get expired stuff, you can’t give that out.”

The food that does come in is set aside to quarantine for a week before it is handled or processed, unless it needs to be in a fridge. Additionally, everything is sanitized once a week.

Those accessing the good bank are not permitted to enter the building and a free delivery service is provided to those within town limits. Those outside of town will receive an arranged pick up time.

Orders for hampers can be placed by calling 403-887-4534 or by emailing foodbanksylvan@gmail.com with your name, address and phone number.

“We get some special dietary needs come in, you know, diabetics or Celiac or whatever and we kind of need to know that,” said Griffith.

The hampers provide a minimum three days worth of food and contains the basics, such as carrots and potatoes.

During the growing season the food bank’s gardens boasted potatoes, peas and lettuce. Volunteers planted and harvested the produce to be distributed.

“The strawberry beds out [front] here keeps getting picked, but that’s OK, that’s what it’s for,” she continued.

A current list of the food bank’s needs on the Sylvan Lake Community Food Bank Facebook page.

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