Food for Friends helps Red Deer families

Focusing on food security

Non-profit Food for Friends is into its second month helping to put food on the table for Red Deer families.

Executive director Krystal Wieler said the organization, that provides emergency food support in the form of food cards accepted at Sobeys South, provided six families with cards in December. Help is available for another six families this month.

“They get food cards for three consecutive months. They are welcome to re-apply three months later if they’re still in a place where they need food assistance,” Wieler said on Thursday.

Based on Food for Friends in Woodstock, Ont., the local organization provides individuals $40 each month, plus $20 for each dependent to supplement their food budget and purchase what they want to meet their family’s dietary needs in a manner that allows them to maintain their dignity.

“It’s another food security service in our community. We’re looking to augment other services such as the food bank, other co-ops or other food kitchens that already operate.”

Wieler said once she learned about Food for Friends, she couldn’t stop thinking about the difference it could make locally in people’s lives, and the program was launched last fall in Red Deer as a pilot project.

“It will be the second program of its kind in Canada.”

Cards cannot be used to purchase taxable food, like junk food. Only non-taxable food items can be bought.

She said this year Food for Friends will expand to focus on improving clients’ knowledge of nutrition and food preparation.

“Once they have the food at home, we want to make sure that they know how to best utilize that food. We’re looking to partner with some dietitians and cooking experts on cooking classes and that type of thing.”

Clients need to be referred to the program by community groups like Canadian Mental Health, Family Services of Central Alberta, Cosmos and churches.

For more information go to foodforfriendsrd.com or Food for Friends on Facebook.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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