By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Growth and the added needs of the community have prompted the Morinville Food Bank to take steps to become its own entity. After years of operating in connection with the Midstream Society, the food bank is now operating as the Morinville Food Bank Society, although it will continue to operate from its current location in the Midstream Society’s Thrift Shop.
Long-time volunteer and current board member Ken Skjersven said the new status as a society will afford the food bank greater opportunities to get the resources it needs to better serve those in need.
“It’s going to bring it up to provincial standards with the rest of the food banks,” Skjersven said, noting the society will now be part of the Alberta Food Banks Association. “There are some good benefits there as far as grants and stuff. We’ll be able to get some of that, where we weren’t able to before.”
Additionally, Skjersven said membership in the association will allow for networking with other food banks to trade ideas and resources.
Skjersven said the move is something the food bank has wanted to do for some time, but the dream became reality because of the work of the new board of directors. Joining Skjersven and his wife and fellow long-time volunteer Isabel are Wendy Skjersven, Melonie Dziwenka, Karen Vinje, Cary Wiwchar, Gloria Heemeryck and Steve and Denise Hunter.
But while the food bank has plenty of dedicated board members to run the new society, it is always on the lookout for the food necessary to stock the shelves.
“It’s kind of up and down, but with the economy and what it’s like and everything, it’s a little bit tough for a lot of people, and we’re trying to help out as much as we can,” Skjersven said, noting increased costs of utilities, rents and other necessities take a large bite out of many people’s pay cheques. “With the wages being paid, a lot of people can’t make it. It’s tough.”
Skjersven said while demands on the food bank’s shelves vary from week to week, the charitable organization can always use donations of non-perishable goods.
“Sometimes we have six people a day and sometimes we have maybe three or four a week,” he said, noting that donation boxes placed at the Sobeys and No Frills stores in Morinville have been helpful in keeping shelves stocked. “Whatever we can get for donations is great. It’s a big help for us, for sure.”
The society recently learned of a $325 cash donation plus groceries raised by the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce during its annual golf tournament held Sept. 10.
The Food Bank Society volunteer explained that can goods are preferred over other food items and can be dropped off to their Thrift Store location on 101 Street. However, because of the change in entity status, financial donations should be made payable to the Morinville Food Bank Society.
Skjersven said another way members of the community can help is to make people in need whom they know aware that Morinville has a food bank and that there is no shame in seeking help.
“We’ve had calls from people that make an appointment to come and then they don’t show up because they’re embarrassed,” Skjersven said. “They shouldn’t feel that way. If you need help, that’s reality. If you need help, come see us.”
Skjersven said the food bank will continue to operate Tuesday’s and Wednesdays. To make an appointment, call 780-939-2636.
Those wishing to mail a donation to the Morinville Food Bank Society can address it to Box 351 – Morinville, AB – T8R 1S1.