By Robert Jump
Morinville – The Morinville Food Bank Society could be even better positioned to help those in need if a new initiative being launched by MorinvilleNews.com / Monday Morning News and Servus Credit Union takes root in the community.
Residents will now be able to have a monthly donation automatically withdrawn from their account and deposited into an account at the Morinville Servus Credit Union branch, funds will be earmarked to pay the Morinville Food Bank Society’s rent and utilities each month. Surplus funds beyond monthly expenses will help purchase items needed but not regularly donated.
The idea was suggested to Servus Credit Union Branch Manager Kym Moore last fall by MorinvilleNews.com publisher Stephen Dafoe.
“Last summer I was at a food drive that Big Al’s put on for the food bank,” Dafoe said. “In talking to Ken and Isabelle [Skjersven], I learned it was now costing them $1,500 a month for utilities and rent because they had moved to a bigger facility. I knew how much of a drain that would be on their system.”
Dafoe said he made a commitment to the Skjersvens that he would come up with a way that the community could cover their base expenses each month, allowing food bank volunteers to worry solely about making sure those in need were taken care of. That opportunity presented itself when Dafoe was photographing a cheque presentation at Servus Credit Union last fall, and asked branch manager Kym Moore if it was possible to set up an account and have people in the community do auto-deposits each month. Dafoe said Moore was quick to come on board in support of the idea.
“If you’ve ever seen Ken and Isabelle in the back of the food bank schlepping food around for people who need it, you know they live and breathe this [cause],” Dafoe said. “This is their passion – to help their fellow man. They work so tirelessly and so hard at this that we don’t want them to worry for one moment about having enough money for the rent. Their sole focus should be taking the food our community is so kind to donate and getting that in the hands of those people who need it.”
Ken and Wendy Skjersven signed the papers at Servus Credit Union just prior to Christmas, getting the ball rolling on the new program; a system Servus Branch Manager Kym Moore was only too happy to make happen.
“We’ve been working with the Morinville Food Bank Society for a number of years, and when we had the request to set up something like this to ensure they had money on a regular basis as opposed to just at the end of the year, I asked myself two questions: Is it the right thing to do? Does it make sense?” Moore said. “It was an overwhelming yes on both questions.”
Moore explained the process is simple for businesses or individuals to participate. All anyone needs do is pick up a form from the Food Bank Society or Servus Credit Union’s 100 Avenue branch, have it filled out and authorized by the donor’s bank, and returned to Servus Credit Union or the food bank.
“Monthly your account would be debited for the amount you want on a regular basis,” Moore said, adding tax receipts would be issued by the Morinville Food Bank Society at the end of the year.
Morinville Food Bank pleased
Morinville Food Bank Society President Wendy Skjersven said the society was pleased with the initiative.
“It will mean lots to us on a month-to-month basis,” she said. “Now that we won’t have to pay for our rent, we can get essentials that we need for the food bank from freezers to coolers to shelving. She said the additional guaranteed revenues would allow the organization to purchase food and other items they are short on at any given time.
It is well known the food bank provides those in need with food staples, maybe not so widely known is the fact they also provide those in need with personal hygiene products and cleaning supplies.
“We had a while ago some kids that didn’t want to go to school because they didn’t have tooth paste so they could brush their teeth before they went to school,” Ken Skjersven said. “Things like that are what we really need.”
By having a number of Morinville business owners and residents committing to monthly donations to cover rent and utilities, it is hoped the Morinville Food Bank Society will be better able to provide items currently in short supply.
The Morinville Food Bank Society now pays $1,000 per month in rent for their expanded location next to the Ray McDonald Sports Centre. The operation uses about another $400 per month in electricity and heating. Ken Skjersven said total utilities and rent run approximately $1,500 per month.
Organizers of the fundraising initiative are hoping to have 60 donors or more commit to donating $25 per month or more by automatic withdrawal. Dafoe said MorinvilleNews.com and Monday Morning News are committing $75 each, a sum that will cover 10 per cent of the food banks monthly hard costs. He is hoping other Morinville businesses as well as residents will do what they can to make sure the Morinville Food Bank Society can have their monthly expenses covered.
Visit Servus Credit Union on 100 Avenue or the Morinville Food Bank to pick up one of the donor forms.