For most people, when it comes time to cook dinner, they go to a well-stocked kitchen and decide what to do.
Others, including some in the local community, do not have this luxury; they deal with food insecurity, a pan-Canadian issue that affects families from coast to coast, including here in Stettler.
To help food insecure individuals and families, 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 chairman of the board of the food bank company.
“There were a lot of donations of food and money. Many businesses have stepped up.
Corporate sponsors include Walmart, No-Frills, and Sobeys, although some of the smaller companies such as Theresa’s Catering and Blokes Bakery are also helping.
“Blokes gives us bread twice a week,” Higgins said.
Other organizations, such as the Stettler Schools and Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, have also stepped up their fundraising from food banks, according to Higgins.
“When it comes to cash donations and community support, it takes a guy’s breath away to see how successful we have been,” Higgins said.
On a monthly basis, the Stettler Food Bank helps ensure that between 120 and 140 households, or a total of 250 to 270 people, have enough to eat.
Individuals and couples can access the food bank once a month, and families of more than two can access it twice a month, although everyone can access bread more often.
The baskets include 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 benefits from contributions from Food Banks Canada.
“It’s a network that works on food security,” Higgins said.
The work of the Stettler Food Bank could not be done without the organization’s 50 to 60 volunteers, which until recently were headed by former president Betty Birch.
“I don’t see a change in the way we do things for the foreseeable future,” Higgins said.
“I was amazed at how tight a ship (Betty) ran.”
Volunteers work such as shopping for groceries with partner businesses, stocking shelves, building baskets for customers and distributing them.
Customers can access the Stettler Food Bank on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Donations can be dropped off at the Food Bank, located in the basement of Stettler 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.