December usually the busiest time of the year
December is proving to be a busy time of year for the Slave Lake Food Bank with many donations, orders and partnerships.
Food Bank Volunteer Cathy Lacouvee said the food bank is getting a lot of material and cash donations. This has meant they have a healthy stockpile of items. Monetary donations will go into the food bank’s fund to buy items that are needed.
“The food bank has been very busy as always,” she said.
The food bank has many partnerships with businesses in the community. Lacouvee highlighted donations from both Sobeys and No Frills. Sobeys has been selling food packages valued at $5 or $10. These bundles of food go to the food bank. As for No Frills, the food bank visits the store once a week and takes food items that are deemed damaged or not able to be sold. The food bank will give out the donations if they meet the standards of the Canada Food Guide and the Alberta Food Inspector.
The food bank operates purely on donations. Lacouvee said their funding is limited, but because of steady donations no one is going hungry and they are stocked nicely.
“Our food bank is alive and well,” she said.
Lacouvee herself has seen a general uptick in use. She explained that some of the people using the food bank are people who never thought they would have to use that service. It is a temporary service. The idea is to help someone for three months until the person needing help is back on their feet.
The increased use has been partly credited to the food bank’s partnership with Santa’s Anonymous for the Christmas hampers.
They are looking to do 200 hampers this Christmas. So far they have 170 requests for Christmas hampers.
According to Food Bank records, they served 154 orders in September, 94 orders in October and up to 15 in November. Their records did not have the full count for November or a partial count for December at the time of this interview.
Lacouvee does not remember the food bank ever having to struggle to meet the demand or being forced to turn someone away. That said, there have been times where their stock has run uncomfortably low.
“It is amazing for the size of town that we have,” she said. “The donations continue to come and of course at Christmas people feel they want to contribute more.”
Any excess items from the Christmas season will help sustain them into the next year. Most of the items have a fairly long shelf live.
If anyone is interested in making a donation, you can bring in food items, cash or gift cards right to the food bank. You will get a receipt. Lacouvee said she has no preference between food and money. The money will be used to buy any of the items needed to replenish the food stock.
Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre Community Helper Coordinator Lindsey Gambler and volunteer Kimberly Bittman sort through donations to the Santa’s Anonymous Christmas hampers.