Donated food items were piled up on every available surface as volunteers sorted through the large piles. The volunteers were grateful to be in a larger space for this year’s stuff-a-bus, as it made it easier to sort through the donations. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Food Bank in pretty good shape going into the holiday season

The food bank accepted huge donations through the stuff-a-bus and charity check-stop campaigns

The Sylvan Lake and Community Food Bank is looking to be in pretty good shape, going into the busy holiday season.

The shelves a pretty full with more items and donations constantly coming in.

Thanks to generous donations by community sponsors Pam Towers, a volunteer at the Food Bank, says she isn’t too worried about providing over the Christmas season.

“I am never disappointed with this town. Everyone is so generous and makes sure we are stocked up for those in need,” said Towers.

Generous giving was evident on Dec. 2 when the the Sylvan Lake and Community Food Bank accepted multiple donations through the Stuff-a-Bus and the Charity Check-stop.

The check-stop brought in a lot of individual items the Food Bank uses on a constant basis. The stuff-a-bus brought in two busses full of food items for the food bank.

It took the volunteers at the food bank roughly two hours to put away the items brought in from the check-stop when two busses full of food came in to finish the night.

The stuff-a-bus campaign was located at Sobeys and No-Frills.

“The grocery stores in this town are so good to us. They are always helping us, and I am so grateful,” Towers said.

The bus from No-Frills brought in a variety of different items for the food bank, including jars of peanut butter, toilet paper and soup. While the bus from Sobeys brought in a variety of packaged items sold specifically for the stuff-a-bus.

Wayne Stade, a school bus driver for Red Deer Catholic Regional School and a Stuff-the-Bus organizer, said he was very happy with the turnout this year.

“This is our 15th year doing this for the Sylvan Lake Food Bank and I am happy with how we are looking this year,” said Stade.

Stade has been holding a stuff-the-bus in Sylvan Lake after hearing about a similar event held in Red Deer.

The event has customers of local businesses buy an item or two and bring it out to the bus after shopping, which fills up every seat in the bus.

Next year, Stade hopes to have No-Frills create pre-packaged donations customers can buy at the checkout for $5 or $10.

“It’s simple enough for both them and us and it will encourage people to grab the item for the food bank at checkout,” he said.

Towers says she is grateful to the bus drivers for putting together the event and for sitting in the cold all day.

“It isn’t easy you know, sitting there in the cod. We have the easy job because we are in a warm building,” she said.

It is hard to say how much was brought in through the two drives on Dec. 1, as the food bank does not have a scale to weigh the food as it comes in.

A very rough estimate would be more than 100 pounds of food was brought in thanks to the stuff-a-bus and charity check-stop campaigns.

“Going into the holiday season I would say we are in pretty good shape,” Towers said.

The giving isn’t over, as a few of the schools in town are also organizing food drives for the food bank this month.

“It is this town, and the togetherness they embrace. It is a very giving and caring town,” said Towers.

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Any free hands who could help out did, including kids of one of the bus drivers. There was even one couple who stopped to give a hand while they waited for the parade to wrap up. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

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