Food bank use up over last year

Battlefords District Food and Resource Centre has provided its annual report at its AGM held last week.

Here is a rundown of the highlights from that report, provided by its executive director Erin Katerynych.

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In fiscal year 2018-19 ending Feb. 28, the food bank gave out an average of 672 hampers per month, up from 645 per month last year. They served an average of 2,081 people a month, also up from 1,998 a month last year. Just under half, 48 per cent, were children 17 and under, well above the Canadian average of 35 per cent.

Overall, these are the highest numbers accessing the food bank since it started, according to the report.

The value of food raised/donated and given out by the food bank was $716,233, up nine per cent. This includes their warehouse distribution amount as well.

A total of $77,745.20 was given out to other not-for-profit organizations in the community. Food and non-food products are provided to nine schools in the area. They also provide food and other products to The Lighthouse on a weekly basis.

Other non-profits they support are Battlefords Sexual Assault Center, Battlefords Interval House, Battlefords Trade and Education Center, Battlefords Humane Society and Prairie Pooches. Assistance is provided to children’s/teen’s community programs including Boys and Girls Club, Concern for Youth, Alliance Church Youth Group and Little Pine Daycare for special projects.

During the 2018 Empty Stocking Fund, 1,609 people in total were helped. Of those 794, or 49 per cent, were children 15 and under.

The food bank also runs a number of other programs including Coats for Kids, Milk for Kids and Food for Kids. They are also partnering with the City of North Battleford Parks and Recreation for the fourth straight summer for the After the Bell program to distribute bags of food to kids using the supervised parks program. 

The organization also helps with income tax preparations to help low-income families and individuals, and are one of two Fine Options/Community Service agencies in the Battlefords. They also provide a work placement for Prairie Employment as well.

Volunteers contributed 3,700 volunteer hours for the food resource centre last year.

The Battlefords District Food and Resource Centre location on 101st Street has seen some renovations. In the past year they installed a freight elevator/lift to gain safer access to the basement. The food bank reports they have expanded their warehouse storage by three times the amount. The project was funded by a grant from Enterprise Rent-a-car through Food Banks Canada.

The food bank also reports they are working out logistics with Food Banks Saskatchewan to become a hub to surrounding food banks, particularly those to the north.

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