The Wheatland County Food Bank, with the help of the Alberta Government, has been able to help several hundred more people within the community struggling with food insecurity.

According to Lynnette Aschenbrenner, executive director of the Wheatland County Food Bank, the support from the province has gone a long way within the Strathmore community.

“We received that money back in December. It is always great to have the support of the Alberta Government,” she said. “It is nice to see them pitching in and recognizing that the cost of living is just too much for people to handle right now. There is a lot of pressure on food banks at the moment to help fight food insecurity.”

The grant distributed by the province totalled $40,000, as a part of an initiative announced in November, 2022 to provide $20 million to foodbanks across Alberta. To date, the first half of that commitment has been distributed.

Aschenbrenner added there were certain conditions that applied to the grant, which were in regards to how it was allowed to be spent.

“We could only use it on certain things, but obviously to be able to buy food and household essential items. We figured that window that we were able to buy stuff would help us serve roughly 680 individuals throughout the year,” she said. “It varied from food bank to food bank, but it is essential to fight food insecurity. We could buy food and household necessities, and just a host of other things to make access a little bit easier for our clients.”

To date, Aschenbrenner said the demand on Wheatland County Food Bank is up roughly 25 per cent from last year. This is on top of the 25 per cent increased demand also observed by the food bank at this point in 2022 from the previous year. 

Despite this, she spoke reassuringly that the food bank is able to support the increased client use and demand of their services.

“We have had a couple of big food drives, and our community is always very supportive,” she said. “I do not think I remember a time when they have been not with us, or with other organizations as well. We are pretty blessed in this area.”

The Wheatland County Food Bank is estimating another influx of support from the province, once the second half of the $20 million commitment is to be distributed, though has not yet been given an indication of when that will be.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 26, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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