The community has shown tremendous support to the Stettler Food Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although demand has actually gone down as of late, financial contributions have been very generous, said organizer Betty Birch.
“We’ve received tonnes of support financially. Also, people who haven’t been able to work at their regular jobs have been stepping forward to volunteer here,” she said.
Donations of food haven’t been taken during the pandemic, so therefore the community has really stepped forward with the financial help – for which Birch is thankful. “There has been financial support from businesses, individuals and we’ve received some funding from both school districts because they have turned over their funding for their breakfast programming,” she said. “We are truly grateful for the support of this community because I know of other food banks that are struggling,” she said.
These days, pre-packaged hampers are available for pick-up from the Stettler Food Bank, which is located in the basement of Stettler’s United Church.
“Our families can just come to the door and we can take their information,” she said. “It’s a great system.”
The packages contain a number of items but unfortunately can’t be ‘custom-made’ to a particular person or family at this time, she said.
As to the lesser numbers of users these days, Birch believes it could be in part due to the emergency funding that has been made available over the past weeks.
“They are maybe also choosing to not come to the food bank right now,” she said. “Our users were down by close to one-half during the month of April,” she said, adding that 88 hampers went out instead of a normal number of 150.
Staff and volunteers are following all of the pandemic safety protocols put forward by the province as well.
Meanwhile, a new hamper delivery service is up and running – marking a partnership between the food bank and Stettler FCSS.
“The hampers are being prepared in boxes, and for those on foot, these aren’t as easy to carry home as a handful of grocery bags,” she said. Anyone interested in this delivery service is encouraged to call the FCSS office at 403-742-2337.
“We prepare it and the Handibus will pick it up from us on regular food bank days and deliver it,” she said.
The Stettler Food Bank is open to clients Tuesday and Thursday from one p.m. until three p.m., and Wednesday from seven p.m. until 8 p.m.
For more information about the Stettler Food Bank, contact Betty Birch at 403-742-0732.