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Fort Macleod Food Bank facing growing demand

Coby Kleissen and Lynn Hornberger unload supplies at the Salvation Army food bank in Fort Macleod. Donations are needed to meet growing demand on the food bank’s services.

Fort Macleod Food Bank is helping more people through the pandemic.
Fort Macleod residents can now get two hampers a month from the depot on Second Avenue, rather than just one.
The growing need as the economic downturn continues means the Salvation Army needs more help filling the shelves of the food bank.
“It’s increasing quite a bit,” Major Donald Bladen said Thursday of demand for the food bank’s services. “There is more use of food and other household items because people are staying home.”
“This whole situation, extrapolated ouCoby Kleissen and Lynn Hornberger unload supplies at the Salvation Army food bank in Fort Macleod. Donations are needed to meet growing demand on the food bank’s services.t, creates a lot more demand for a variety of reasons.”
That is a trend that is expected to continue during the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alberta’s unemployment rate is 8.7 per cent and rising as more businesses close or lose work due to the public health restrictions.
“I would suggest to you that we’re potentially going to have to double, if not triple, our food bank service to Fort Macleod,” Major Bladen said.
“We’ve never really had too much food at any food bank I’ve ever been at,” Major Bladen said. “We could continually use supplies.”
Cash donations allow the Salvation Army to use its bulk buying power to secure supplies from a wholesale platform.
“Cash is always preferable because that allows more flexibilty,” Major Bladen said. “We also have buying power. We can take care of food supplies from a much more cost-effective source than retail.”
Major Bladen stressed that grocery stores in Fort Macleod have been great resources, and any donations are welcome.
The Salvation Army houses its food bank supplies in a central location in Lethbridge, and delivers food each Wednesday to Fort Macleod.
Donations are consolidated in Lethbridge and food hampers are packaged in the Lethbridge facility for delivery to Fort Macleod.
The Lethbridge facility has a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer, as well as considerable shelving space for safe storage of food.
Any support provided by people in Fort Macleod stays in town, with the effort supplemented by the Salvation Army.
“The amount of resources coming into Fort Macleod versus the amount of resources that Fort Macleod is raising are significantly more,” Major Bladen said. “We’re supplementing at least 200 per cent.”
Donations to the Fort Macleod Food Bank can be made through Major Donald Bladen at 587-257-5657.
People can also drop off donations at the Fort Macleod Food Bank on Second Avenue on Wednesdays.
The Fort Macleod Alliance Church is also spearheading a drive in support of the food bank. Donations can be dropped off at the church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and by appointment on Friday and Saturday by calling 403-929-6510.
The items most needed by the food bank are canned fruits and vegetables; canned meat, tuna and salmon; soups; canned pasta and stews; spaghetti sauce; unsweetened juices; canned pork and beans; peanut butter; macaroni and cheese; almond, coconut, soy and regular milk; dog and cat food.
Major Bladen said Fort Macleod will come through for those in need.
“I’m more than optimistic. I’m certain they will,” Major Bladen said. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years or so and there has never been an instant when people have not come through.”
“I have no doubt in my mind that the community will come through.”

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