According to Vital Signs, 1-3 single parent families in our city live below the poverty line and food insecurity. We are seeing a tremendous increase in food bank usage, and this usage includes the working poor. Food Security is having access to sufficient and nutritious foods.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening anywhere from 60 to 100 people gather at the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre for a meal. From children to senior citizens, those in need find sustenance and support thanks to help from a number of organizations including the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta.
“Our suppers feed approx. 60-100 per evening. Without sponsorship from organizations such as the Community Foundation, Rotary clubs, and churches we would not be able to make it without them,” says Friendship Centre Outreach Coordinator Maureen Laboucan. “Having the organizations come in and help serve the meals they get to see the difference their contributions make. They get a sense of pride in being a part of this great endeavor.”
The One Window Resource program recently received a $2780 Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation.
“We have approximately 12 suppers per month and every week we notice new client, new faces. More people hearing about us or new to Grande Prairie and will come and check out the meals,” says Laboucan. “The funds from the Foundation supplement the costs of the meals that are not covered by sponsors and help purchase supplies as needed.”
The community-based drop-in program helps to address the needs of individuals at risk or in need and works to provide non-financial services that will help those individuals sustain stability in our community.
In addition to the three evening meals, the Friendship Centre also as an emergency food closet, offers free gently-used clothing, hygiene supplies and serves as an information resource area with referrals to other agencies, job board listings and computer and internet access.
For people such as Travis, the Friendship Centre program offers a safe haven. “It’s so very important to have a place like this so people down on their luck have a place to go, have a warm coffee, meal, bread and clean cloths…it gives hope,” he says.
Another client, Wally, echoes those sentiments saying, “The Friendship Centre is important, I’m screwed without it. A lot of people wouldn’t be able to make it without it. A lot of people come here with no money they are starving and have no where else to go, and that’s the truth, there’s a lot of people that need this place.”
Your Community Foundation is committed to food security and is working with the Salvation Army, Friendship Centre, local school divisions, City of Grande Prairie, AHS, Rotary and more to increase food security in our community.
The Community Foundation currently leads the Food Security Sub Committee to ensure healthy meals are provided to those in need and that no one in the community goes hungry.
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. You can make a donation to the Community Food Bank Fund online here https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/36924 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.