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Free Food Friday provides relief from pandemic

Fort Macleod volunteers sort the food that was handed out free to residents.

A non-profit organization is helping rural people cope with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calgary Family Peer Connection is delivering free food to Fort Macleod and other communities.

In addition to meeting a basic need, the organization wants to improve people’s mental health by getting them out and socializing after months of being shut down.

“We’re all affected by the pandemic in one way or another,” said connection founder Jacquie Duhacek, who lives in Stavely.

Calgary Family Peer Connection accessed funding from the Red Cross and  the Breakfast Club of Canada.

Free Food Friday is open to residents of the MD of Willow Creek and the communities within its boundaries: Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm, Granum and Fort Macleod.

The service is open to everyone, regardless of social or economic structure.

Public health officer Robert Rippin connected Fort Macleod Family and Community Support Services with Duhacek.

“We’re just trying to figure out how best to facilitate it,” FCSS director Angie O’Connor said Friday as a truck load of food was unloaded outside her office.

Included with the food is some information on mental health.

The plan began to take shape on Thursday, with food being delivered on Friday outside the FCSS office at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.

FCSS staff used social media to let people know about the opportunity.

“The idea is to have a better, more permanent location,” O’Connor said.

Calgary Family Peer Connections has delivered food to the Granum Rec Centre on three consecutive Fridays.

People can pick up food between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 129 Aberdeen St.

The service is expected to continue into November.

Duhacek said the response to the free food delivery has been strong, noting 400 people were served Friday at Granum.

“It’s magic,” Duhacek said of the process.

For information about Calgary Family Peer Connections, visit or contact Jacquie Duhacek at