Food bank is in high demand as community support continues

Stocking the shelves - Stettler and District Food Bank was replenished during the annual food drive by Stettler Regional Fire Rescue on Oct. 4 as youth from Heartland Youth Centre in Stettler were among the many volunteers who sorted food.

Demand for food hampers remains high for the Stettler area at the Stettler and District Food Bank as the economic downturn and recession continue to affect the local area and other parts of Alberta.

“We are up by about 20 per cent from two years ago and we are very busy at the food bank,” said Kathy Willis, executive director of the food bank for the last 13 years.

This year, the food bank has distributed an average of 125 hampers per month, compared to 120 last year and 93 in 2008,

“History has shown that the Stettler area is slow to feel the rise and fall of economic impacts,” said Willis.

“The poor economy is still affecting the Stettler area.”

About 48 per cent of those who receive food hampers are adult-only households, she said.

“The community is extremely generous to us to donate food and funds,” said Willis.

Shelves at the food bank were replenished during the annual food drive Oct. 4 hosted by Stettler Regional Fire Rescue.

“Our food bank has the luxury of not having to organize any food drives or campaigns, the community and community groups initiate them for us,” said Willis.

“In many other communities, the food bank has to organize food drives which takes a lot of time and energy.”

She appreciated volunteers and specially recognized Heartland Youth Centre for serving an extensive amount of time at the recent food drive.

Stettler food bank relies on citizens of the community and surrounding region for donated food, since provincial and federal funding is not available for food banks.

Donations of food can be made at major grocery stores in Stettler – Sobey’s and No Frills – and at the food bank at Stettler United Church basement weekday mornings.

“Smaller donations certainly help and we hope the community rises to the occasion to continue to support the food bank,” said Willis.

As the Christmas season approaches, residents will have ample opportunities to help fill the shelves and donate to various campaigns.

“We can accept fresh vegetables and fruit but not home-canned food and wild meat,” said Willis.

Cash donations help the food bank purchase perishable products such as milk, eggs and meat.

For more information, phone Willis at 403-742-4567.

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