The Chestermere Food Bank is exploring the possibility of expanding into a new building, as space was identified as an issue in the strategic plan.
“We’re busier for sure, we’re putting out more hampers, more people are accessing our programs, it’s inevitable as the city grows,” said Chestermere Food Bank President, Laurie Dunn.
“That’s the reality as the city grows, the need for the food bank is going to grow, which is why strategically, we’re looking to see how we can meet those needs, and meet the needs of the community,” she said.
The ultimate goal of the food bank expansion is to incorporate a community kitchen, meeting space, and a space for clothing, and small household item exchanges.
“At the community kitchen we could provide programming for seniors and youth, and then teach kids about nutrition, how to cook simple meals, and kitchen skills,” Dunn said.
Throughout the summer, the Chestermere Food Bank team has also been busy with programs such as the After the Bell Program.
“The After the Bell program is what we do for the schools but during the summer. We get some snack packs from Food Banks Alberta, and we supplement with fresh fruit,” Dunn said.
Throughout the summer, donations commonly slow down, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, there have not been any chances for the food bank to attend large events or host food drives to collect donations.
“When school starts there is usually a big thanksgiving food drive. We do get quite a number of food drives in the fall, and we’re looking forward to that,” Dunn said.
“Since COVID-19, we haven’t really been able to raise awareness, talk to schools, or have groups visit the food bank. As more people move into the city, they may not be aware that it’s available to them should they need it,” she said.
Going forward, the Chestermere Food Bank is working on the Backpack Program and will distribute backpacks prior to the start of school.
Without the support of those who donate to the Chestermere Food Bank, the programs and resources offered wouldn’t be possible.
“Thank you to those who do donate and recognize there is a need in the community. Thank you for their support,” Dunn said.