Program coordinator clarifies what’s going on, what the rules are
There’s been a lot of chatter about the food bank in Slave Lake lately – how it works and what its rules are and if they are being followed and so on. Co-ordinator Cathy LaCouvée spoke to The Leader last week to clear the air and set the record straight.
“We are alive and well and functioning,” she said.
The food bank remained open during the week recently when the Friendship Centre was closed. LaCouvée stressed that although they are in the same building, the food bank is not the Friendship Centre and vice versa.
“We just use the space,” she says.
It should also be noted that the food bank is run entirely by volunteers, relying entirely on donations – of non-perishable food and cash. With that, they serve people who come in looking for food, provide food for several school lunch programs, for the Healthy Moms and Babes program (diapers too) and for the once-per-week soup kitchen over at the Community Christian Centre.
LaCouvée made a point of explaining the protocol the food bank follows with regard to serving its clients. The most basic of these is that a person is allowed to request food once every three months. They are generally given about a 10-day supply.
“We don’t intend to feed them permanently,” she said.
On the other hand, if someone comes back within the three-month period – especially if they have children – there is such a thing as an ‘emergency order,’ of food that can be provided.
“We don’t turn them away,” she says.
Nor does it matter if the person is working or not.
“We don’t ask.”
The hours of operation of the food bank might not be all that convenient; but keep in mind, LaCouvée says, it’s run by volunteers, so three days a week, two hours per day is what works. Those days are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from ten to noon.
The operations of the food bank, LaCouvée continues, are quite closely monitored by the local health inspector. They have to pay pretty close attention to expiry dates on food, and of course can’t deal at all with perishable items.
“There’s a lot that goes on that people don’t know about,” she says. “We’re doing things the way we’re supposed to be.”