Thursday September 18, 2014

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Food sparse on food bank's shelves

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The Estevan Salvation Army's food bank is still in need of donations, even after the Pre-Vacation Fill the Bank Food Drive in June.

The food drive generated about 800 pounds of food, which was about half of what was brought in during last year's June drive. Another $400 came in through cash donations.

“Our hope was that we would fill the shelves a little bit before the summer months kicked in,” Lieutenant Brian Bobolo told Lifestyles.

The donations that they did receive will be very beneficial, he said. They will still be able to provide hampers, while offering other programs, such as the mobile food bank outreach and the drop-in program. Their reserves for some foods are depleted.

“As we fill food hampers, when new applicants come in, we are not able to currently supply them with all of the different items that we normally put into the food hampers,” said Bobolo.

Cash donations will be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

Bobolo estimates the food bank's shelves are at about 35 per cent capacity. They have a lot of soup, but they need just about everything else.

They have received some relief in one area. Athena Resources in Oxbow donated two cows to the food bank, and Davis Meats in Alameda supplied the butchering and packaging services. The cattle have a total weight of 2,100 pounds.

The donations will allow the food bank to fill hampers with fresh meet.

“That's going to help us out, because normally we use financial donations and cash donations to go out and purchase meat items for the hampers,” said Bobolo.

Demand on the food bank remains steady compared to last year, Bobolo said. They distributed about $50,000 in food in 2013.

“We continue to receive a number of new individuals into the community who are coming in for work, and who are looking to get settled,” said Bobolo. “Like previous years, some of them take a little extra time to get settled.”

The Salvation Army's response to the flooding in southeast Saskatchewan has also added some strain to the food bank. Bobolo said they continue to shuttle supplies, such as bottled water, to Gainsborough. Food is also available upon request, although they prefer to have people come to Estevan when seeking assistance from the food bank.

“The people who are on the ground, providing services to that community, are certainly calling us,” said Bobolo. “We've been delivering truckloads of water, and providing human support and volunteers, at the reception centre in Gainsborough.”

Bobolo said they hope to have enough food to get them through the next couple of months, until the Canada Post food drive in mid-September.


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