As a result of the ongoing layoffs and business closures, the support of food banks has never been so integral to the sustenance of communities. Apart from Fernie’s ever busy food bank continuing to extend a hand to locals, both Sparwood and Elkford’s food bank and food share programs maintain ongoing function.
The Sparwood Food Share continues to operate Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., as does the Sparwood Food Bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m..
In an effort to maintain social distancing protocols, the Sparwood Food Share and food bank have moved their services outside, and do not allow public entry to the building. Clients are also only invited to be served on an individual basis.
While the Sparwood Food Bank continues to receive fresh food from Save On Foods, Tami Chechotko, president of the Sparwood Food Bank, said they have seen extra product donations from Sysco and Gordon’s Foods as a result of business closures. Apart from maintaining their usual clients, the Sparwood Food bank has also seen new faces resulting from COVID-19 related layoffs.
“We see continued use of the food share by our clients. It is very important to our clients as it provides a stable source of food and a structured element to their lives,” said Chechotko. “I want the community to remember that we are here for anyone who is in financial hardship during this unstable time.”
The Elkford Food Bank also remains open at this time. They continue to service the community on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from nine in the morning until 4:30 p.m.
Social distancing is slightly more simple for Elkford Food Bank as they do not operate from a specific room like the Sparwood and Fernie divisions do. Even so, vice president Karen Lewis assured clients that groceries will be sourced and picked up with utmost consideration.
“Because we don’t have a food bank room, when someone phones us and they need some help, we take down some details and we have them meet us at the back of the grocery store, and they pick up their groceries from us there,” said Lewis. “Depending of course on the client, we do a shop for a family or a single person. I check to make sure there’s no allergies or that type of thing. It’s nice because we are able to provide them with what they need.”
According to Lewis, the Elkford Food Bank has seen a slight increase in the number of generous donors in the last few weeks. Even so, she said they are yet to see an increase in clients because unemployment is still a relatively new situation in Elkford. This being said, Lewis assumes that as the pandemic ensues, there will be a growing need for their services. She stressed the importance of their operation, especially in trying times like as these, reminding the community that they will continue to support locals whenever possible.