Stettler Food Bank Manager Betty Birch receives a donation from the Clearview School District totalling $89,000 from Board Trustee Becky Scott and Board Chair Greg Hayden. The funds came from the Province’s School Nutrition Program which was allocated to the district but wasn’t completely used due to school shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Clearview Public Schools donated $89,000 to the Stettler Food Bank

Funds from the Province’s School Nutrition Program were split amongst Stettler, Castor, Coronation and Big Valley

Out of funds left from the Province’s School Nutrition Program, Clearview Pubic Schools has made a donation of $89,000 to the Stettler Food Bank.

This is part of a total of $131,000 that was left over as part of the program to help provide nutritional food to students across the division.

Because of the pandemic and school closures, the Province allowed schools to donate the leftover funds to worthy community causes.

“Because of COVID-19 and the shut-down of the schools, we have a considerable amount of cash left over from the provincial grant that was given to us,” said Board Chair Greg Hayden.

“Between Stettler, Big Valley, Coronation and Castor, we had $131,000 left over from the grant from the Province to distribute,” he explained. “Our concern is that some kids are still in needy situations, and we felt that the local food banks were as good a spot as any to make these donations to help assist people who are having any difficulties as this goes on,” he said.

The money was split up among the four communities based on school populations and overall populations as well.

Meanwhile, the goals of the nutrition program include the education of youth with respect to the importance of reading food labels, the choice and preparation of healthy food, and how to access Alberta’s food resources, noted a release.

The nutrition program also is to provide students in school jurisdictions across Alberta with a daily nutritious meal that adheres to the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth.

“It’s exciting for us to be able to do this, and it will reach further into the community than just through the schools,” he said. “It will also support the kids that were in need within the school systems – it will now support them within the community.”

Stettler Food Bank Manager Betty Birch was thrilled with the donation, which she said will certainly go a long ways in continuing to serve the community through these unprecedented times.

These days, on top of people’s regular hampers, Birch said volunteers are also creating special bags that have things kids would in particular enjoy. “We have some extra Kraft Dinner in there, some fruit cups, and some other granola bars and snacks. It’s a way to supplement the hamper a bit with some other kinds of things,” she said.

“We have also been buying ‘milk to go’ which doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can also go into those bags,” she said.

As to the donation, Birch said she was pretty much speechless.

“It’s overwhelming. That would be our grocery budget for the year, honestly. This will be very good. And I’m anticipating that we are going to get busier and busier,” she said, adding that the level of donations overall tends to drop a bit during the summer months.

“We’ve also been discouraging food donations because we really don’t have the capacity to deal with them right now,” she said. “Cash is perfect, and we’ve been getting a nice amount of cash donations, too,” she said, pointing out that the local Catholic School Division has also been generously donating money from their School Nutrition Program as well.

“This is amazing,” she said. “Also the support from the community – we’ve had new volunteers come forward, too.”

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