Stettler Food Bank in solid shape thanks to community support

A hike in demand is expected in the coming months

Thanks to the generosity of the local community, the Stettler Food Bank is in good shape heading into the fall.

However, demand is expected to increase in the coming months, said Betty Birch, the Food Bank’s manager.

“We’ve changed things a little bit in that we have moved back downstairs – we were (previously) sending out hampers out of the front door of the (Stettler United) church. But as things start happening in the church again, we are back in the basement. We are still doing pre-made hampers, so that everyone’s contact is quite limited,” she explained.

“The clients are given a pre-made hamper of staple items, a pre-made-up bag of bread, and we pack their cooler bags for them, too,” she said.

“We have masks and hand sanitizer, and we are hoping that’s all working okay. Clients have been really good about wearing masks when they come in and our volunteers are wearing them too.”

Birch said overall numbers at the Food Bank continue to be lower than normal.

“We are expecting that to change when the CERB payments run out,” she added. “We are anticipating an increase in the next month, and we are ready for that. But we’ve had huge support from the community in terms of financial support,” she added.

“So we are quite comfortable that we are able to purchase anything that we need, and on that note, in conference with Mark Dennis and the Fire Department, we have decided all the way around to not do a food drive this fall,” she said.

The food drive is typically run the first Monday of October.

With an eye to keeping folks healthy and safe and with ongoing pre-cautions around COVID-19, it was decided this was the most practical step to take at this time.

“We normally have 30 to 40 volunteers at the church sorting food, but we just can’t do that now,” she explained, adding that again, thanks for the community’s generosity this past while in terms of cash donations, she feels confident about being able to keep up with the needs over the coming months.

“We’ve also had great donations of produce in the last month from the Hutterites in particular; we’ve had corn and potatoes, and other individuals have brought in lettuce, squash, tomatoes and cucumbers.

“So we haven’t purchased a lot of produce over the summer,” she said. “We also had two amazing donations of ground beef – one from a company that had purchased a 4-H calf. The other was from an individual that donated some beef to us as well,” she said.

The Stettler Food Bank, located in the basement of the United Church, has been faithfully serving the community for decades. In the mid-1990s, it became a registered Society.

The organization has also always been located in the United Church, just not always in the same spot. But today, they have a spacious room in the basement.

“We are chugging along – it’s been a lot of of background work, and I’ve got such a great group of volunteers who have persevered through all of this,” she added. “The people that we have are just amazing.”

For more information about the Stettler Food Bank, call 403-742-0732 of find them on Facebook.

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