By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A much heavier Morinville Community Bus groaned over the weigh scales Friday night after two days of collecting food throughout the community. Organizers of this year’s annual Fill-A-Bus were hoping to outdo the 5,608 pounds of food and $1,600 in cash donations collected last year for the Morinville Food Bank Society. Those expectations and goals were not disappointed as Morinvillians of all ages rose to the occasion to support the cause. This year’s initiative collected 7,469 pounds of food and $810 in cash donations.
“I think this year is just wonderful,” said Ken Skjersven of the Food Bank Society. “It’s going to be a great big help for the food bank for over the winter months. That’s for sure. We’re very satisfied with what we got here with this big drive.”
Skjersen was not alone in being delighted with the response. Town of Morinville employee Melodie Steele, who organized the event, was also thrilled with the response. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Town of Morinville and , the citizens of the surrounding areas,” she said. “It’s been a stellar, record-breaking year, and I’m hoping we can do it again next year.”
The Fill-A-Bus hit the road Thursday morning, collecting food items from Morinville schools and businesses. From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. the bus made the rounds to Morinville Public Elementary School, George P. Vanier, Georges H. Primeau, Morinville Community High School and Morinville Christian Fellowship School, each school trotting out caring students loaded with food donations for the cause.
In between school visits the bus hit a number of local businesses, including Servus Credit Union, Fair Accounting, The Rendez-Vous Center and Frontier Honda.This year was the first year the community bus did business pick ups.
Friday the bus, town staff, Food Bank Society members, community volunteers, and Santa Claus himself set up at the No Frills from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and at Sobeys from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., giving residents an opportunity to pick up a little something along with their own grocery needs. It took a dozen people more than an hour to unload the bus at the food bank Friday night.
The food and funds will go a long way to helping the Morinville Food bank Society in meeting their needs this Christmas season and beyond. With additional shelf space in their new location next to the arena, the Morinville Food Bank Society is able to carry more inventory to help more people. Recently the charitable group acquired freezers and are now able to accept frozen goods.
But with the increased space and ability to take a greater variety of goods comes an increase in costs. The Food Bank Society now pays rent and utilities in their new location. Monetary donations collected over the weekend will help the food bank meet those expenses.