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The Stettler Food Bank volunteers help provide food security in the community

For most people, when it comes time to make supper they head into a well-stocked kitchen and decide what to make.

Others, including some in the local community, do not have that luxury; they deal with food insecurity, a Canada-wide problem which affects families from coast-to-coast, including here in Stettler.

To help those individuals and families who struggle with food insecurity, the Stettler Food Bank stands ready to help those in need; but they couldn’t do it without the support of the community.

“The community has been great,” said Mark Higgins, recently appointed president of food bank society board.

“There has been lots of food and cash donations. Lots have businesses have stepped up.”

Corporate sponsors include Walmart, No-Frills and Sobeys, though some of the smaller businesses such as Theresa’s Catering and Blokes Bakery help out as well.

“Sobeys gives us bread twice a week,” said Higgins.

Other organizations, such as Stettler’s schools and Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, have also stepped up in doing food bank fundraising according to Higgins.

“With regards to cash donations and support from the community, it takes a guy’s breath away with how well we’ve done,” said Higgins.

On a monthly basis, the Stettler Food Bank helps ensure that between 120 and 140 households, totaling 250 to 270 individuals, have enough to eat.

Individuals and couples are eligible to access the food bank once a month, and families of more than two people are able to access it twice a month, though just bread can be accessed by anyone more often.

Included in the hampers are dry goods, toiletries, dairy products and frozen meat.

The Stettler Food Bank is part of a larger network of food banks in Alberta, which in turn has some input from Food Banks Canada.

“It’s one network that works on food security,” said Higgins.

The work that the Stettler Food Bank does could not be done with without the 50 to 60 volunteers in the organization, who until recently were managed by former president Betty Birch.

“I don’t see a change in the way way we do things in the foreseeable future,” said Higgins.

“I was amazed what a tight ship (Betty) has run.”

The volunteers do work such as pick up groceries from corporate partners, stock shelves, build hampers for clients and hand them out.

Clients can access the Stettler Food Bank Tuesday or Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., and Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m until 8 p.m.

Donations can be dropped off in the Food Bank, located in the basement of Stettler’s United Church, most Monday or Wednesday mornings.

Alternatively, arrangements can be made to drop off donations with food bank volunteers outside of these hours by calling 403-740-6733.

Editors note: This story has been corrected to note that Sobeys provides bread to the Stettler Food Bank twice a week, not Blokes Bakery.

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