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Central Alberta food banks get financial help from the province to deal with rising need

The Red Deer Food Bank is getting a total of $110,000 in grants
Alice Kolisnyk, director of volunteer services for the Red Deer Food Bank, is glad the local non-profit is receiving a total of $110,000 in government grants to help provide for a growing local need. (Advocate file photo.)

The Red Deer Food Bank and many other groups that help feed Central Albertans in need are benefitting from $10 million of provincial funding.

Alberta has the highest food insecurity in the country according to the 2022 Food Banks Canada’s National HungerCount report — and food banks are struggling to keep up with demand.

Last November, the provincial government promised to give $20 million to help food security organizations meet needs over two years. So far, half of this money has been distributed to 210 food banks and other groups.

With many Albertans hard hit by inflation and trying to catch up financially after the pandemic, donations to food banks haven’t been as strong as in the past, while their number of clients has been rising — so the grant money is greatly appreciated, said Alice Kolisnyk, director of volunteer services at the Red Deer Food Bank.

“Anytime we can get more money so we can purchase needed (items) it’s always a good thing,” she added.

Jeremy Nixon, Minister for Seniors, Community and Social Services, said he’s been hearing from food banks about the existing gap between donated food supplies and the growing need for help. “We knew our government needed to act.

“These grants are ensuring that food banks and other organizations, big and small, can carry out the incredible work they do,” Nixon added. “Our government is proud to be partnered with so many individuals dedicated to supporting those in need.”

Last November, the government announced three grant streams to help put food on the table of Alberta households: The Food Bank Grant of $2.8 million, the Food Security Grant for $2.9 million, and the Donation Matching Grant for $3.4 million.

Additionally, the provincial government gave $510,000 to Food Banks Alberta to strengthen the food bank network in the province.

Recipients of the Food Bank Grants include the Red Deer Food Bank for $60,000, Salvation Army Church and Community Services in Red Deer for $20,000. Food banks in Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake and Lacombe are receiving $40,000 each, while food banks in Innisfail, Olds, Ponoka, Stettler, Rocky Mountain House and the Samson Food Bank Society in Maskwacis will each receive $15,000.

As well, recipients of $8,000 each from this fund are the Alix Mirror Wellness Supports and food banks in Bashaw, Castor, Consort, Hanna, Rimbey and Three Hills.

Central Alberta recipients of the Food Security Grants include Potter’s Hands Ministries in Red Deer, the Village of Donalda and Ermineskin Food Bank in Maskwacis for $50,000 each. The Knee Hill Adult Learning Centre in Three Hills will receive $16,000, Seniors Outreach in Three Hills $15,000, and Ponoka Youth Association $10,000.

Regional recipients of the Donation Matching Grants are Red Deer Food Bank, Salvation Army Red Deer, The Lord’s Food Bank Society Rocky Mountain House for $50,000 each. The Blackfalds Food Bank Society is getting $39,500, Rimbey Community Home Help $34,700, Potter’s Hands Ministries Red Deer $34,800, Innisfail and Area Food bank $30,000, Ponoka Food Bank $20,900, Three Hills Area Food Bank $20,000, and Ermineskin Food Bank for $8,700.

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Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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