Sparwood residents struggling to make ends meet will soon have access to donated fresh food amid an expansion of Fernie Food Share program.
The soon-to-open Sparwood Food Share is the brainchild of Fernie Food Share founder Nicole Knauf and Sparwood Food Bank volunteer Edie Holland.
A $22,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust has helped make the Sparwood program a reality.
“Seeing as I’ve enjoyed starting the Fernie Food Share so much and seeing the results of that, it was a no-brainer to want to start it somewhere else as well,” said Knauf.
“I know some people are already coming from Sparwood to use the Fernie one, but of course it would be nice to have it closer to home and for the people that don’t drive, and for the people who (find it) hard to get out of the house.”
Currently, the Sparwood Food Bank stocks mostly non-perishable items. Thanks to this expansion, food bank volunteers will now be able to accept fresh food items from any businesses that agree to donate. This includes bakery items, deli meats, eggs and produce.
“This way, they’re going to have access to so much more,” said Holland. “It will make a difference to the lives of the people that use the food bank.”
Holland said there’s a buzz in the community and residents are excited for the expansion.
Last month, 133 people accessed the Sparwood Food Bank. Eighty-six of those were adults and 47 were children.
Donated food will only be available to clients of the Sparwood Food Bank, unlike the Fernie Food Share, which, under its partnership with the Salvation Army, is open to anyone.
The Fernie Fresh Food Share has grown tremendously since its inception and has many businesses on board donating their extra food. In the first 17 days of March, volunteers collected 3430 pounds of food from around 11 businesses.
A tentative start date for the Sparwood Food Share is mid-May.
The program will hire a driver to pick up the food from businesses around the community. This includes pickups, four mornings a week.
To learn more about this position or how your business could become a part of the program, visit the Sparwood Food Share Facebook page or email Knauf at Sparwoodfreshfoodshare@gmail.com.