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.
Your Community Foundation is committed to food security and is working with the Salvation Army, Friendship Centre, City of Grande Prairie, AHS, Rotary and more to increase food security in our community.
In Grande Prairie, the Salvation Army operates a food bank and a daily hot meal program to help those in need overcome at least one challenge in their lives. The Hot Meal Program provides breakfast, and lunch from Monday to Friday, and dinner Monday and Thursdays. “With the hot meal program, we believe in a world with no hunger. It’s an essential service to be fed a good, hot, nutritious meal,” says Captain Peter Kim of the Salvation Army. Kim says the program will feed an average of 20-30 for breakfast, 50 to 60 at lunch and 70 to 80 people at dinner. “There has been an increase in families, immigrants, seniors and out of town people looking for work who need a meal,” he says.
A small staff of eight relies on help from a steady volunteer base of about 20 to run the program each week. For Kim, what is striking is the range of demographics of those visiting the hot meal program. “We see everyone from infants to seniors, people of all genders, newcomers, homeless, those with mental health issues, those suffering from poverty, and those who are hungry and just need a meal to get by,” he says. “We have drop in and people who have been referred by other agencies, community members and others who use our services.”
Kim recalls one patron who suffered from epilepsy, had an accident at work, lost their job and had to go on assistance. They turned to the hot meal program for a balanced daily meal and is now in turn paying it forward on the Voice of the Voiceless Committee and Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness. “We provided this person with hope, dignity and purpose,” says Kim. “Even though they can’t work, they can work toward helping others through their lived experience.”
The Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta 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. If you would like to donate funds please visit this link – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/36925