The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted the health of Albertans, but their finances as well. The local food banks across the province that are helping to make ends meet often need help too. Thanks to generous contributions of time and money from everyday heroes in the community, the vital work of keeping food on the table for Albertans in need continues.
So, you’re 16 years old, schools have been closed by a pandemic and spring is in the air. What are you going to do? If you’re George Andrew, you volunteer at the Calgary Food Bank. George can be found at work Saturday mornings at 8 am, trying to find ways to beat the record of bins sorted and hampers made that he set the weekend before – and trying to find ways to help his fellow volunteers set a few records themselves.
Susan Kleinsasser fits the description of one of the Foothills Helping Hands. Not only is the founder of the Okotoks non-profit helping fellow volunteers to collect and distribute food hampers to struggling families in the community, she also augments the nutritional value of those hampers with yolks for the folks – donations of free flats of eggs to help out neighbours in need.
For three years, Jean-Marie Hannaford has been a dedicated volunteer at the Jasper Food Bank, even stepping up to serve as president. Along with helping to provide the makings for a nourishing meal, Jean-Marie will do all she can to bring a smile to the face of visitors to the food bank and her fellow volunteers.
When employees at Iron Horse Energy Services in Redcliff became aware that the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank was in need of volunteers, they saddled up to lend a hand. With seniors – among those considered most at risk by COVID-19 – sidelined by the virus, many of the food bank’s regular volunteers were unavailable. For six months, Iron Horse employees were familiar faces at the food bank, stepping up to help feed the community and collectively contributing more than 7,000 hours of volunteer service.
Reyme Kaur’s efforts to ensure her fellow Calgarians don’t go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic have touched the lives of those in her community. From volunteering on local food drives to preparing hampers for distribution that consider dietary restrictions to offering encouragement to those dealing with stress during difficult times, Reyme is serving as an inspiration to others.
Whatever task the Tofield Food Bank has for him, Karder Schultz is up to the challenge. Recognizing the need and anxious to help, Saturday mornings for the past year have found him sorting food and cleaning and tending to the garden boxes that supply the bank with produce.
FORTify Our Community is a group of 26 Fort Saskatchewan businesses that came together in support of the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank. The brainchild of local entrepreneur Cori Midgley, FORTify Our Community organized an online auction of 11 gift baskets, each containing items contributed by participating businesses. The auction netted $4,300, with all proceeds going to support the food bank.
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How to volunteer
For contact information, visit Volunteering during COVID-19.