The Root Cellar Food and Wellness Hub (formerly know as the Medicine Hat Food Bank) has been awarded funds from the United Way from the Community Services Recovery Fund that will address the concerns and demands of community-run charities across the country.
The awarded funds that were received in the spring total $62,735 and were directed to the Healthy Bundles Program.
The Healthy Bundles program is a service that assists pregnant women and women with children under the age of one by providing nutritious food they may not have access to otherwise.
Mothers receive the benefits of eggs, milk, juice and fresh vegetables while their children receive diapers, iron fortified infant cereal and age-appropriate baby foods.
Melissa Mullis, executive director of the Root Cellar emphasizes that higher costs are making people have to choose between utility bills or groceries. She reminds that the food bank is not immune to the costs either.
“We’re seeing a massive amount of people coming in with utility bills that are taking them across the line of poverty,” says Mullis.
“Families that could stay above the edge before are not able to make ends meet.”
The Root Cellar is seeing 250 clients on average per month, which Mullis says is higher than the rate of last year.
“We’ve seen 150-250 new families that we’ve never seen before,” explains Mullis. The demographics include two-income families, seniors and others who have been affected by high inflationary costs.
“This fully funds our program for the entire year,” says Mullis as she expresses gratitude to the United Way for accepting the food bank’s application for support, which will prevent mothers and their families from having to choose between nutrition or proper shelter and utilities.
The other organizations in the community that have been awarded funds for specific programs are the Sanare Centre which received $100,000, the CORE Associated, Medalta, Saamis Immigration Services Association, Medicine Hat Family YMCA, South East Alberta Watershed Alliance Society, REDI, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Praxis Science Outreach Society, and the Gas City Dog Club.
“We’re just really grateful to the government of Canada for supporting families in this unique way,” says Mullis.
More information about volunteering, donating and the various events and programs the Root Cellar runs for members of the community can be found at mhfoodbank.com.
By FERNANDO MORENO-PRADO, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 22, 2023