Eat Well program offers variety and value

Above: Sobeys Morinville co-owner Shaun Thompson poses with some of the items that can make up one of the monthly Eat Well Program hampers, a cost-saving partnership between the local grocer and Morinville’s Family and Community Support Services Department. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville residents can purchase fruits, vegetables and meats at a value price through the Eat Well Program, a partnership between Sobeys Morinville and Morinville’s Family and Community Support Services Department.

Morinville’s Social Support Navigator, Kim Mills, said that the Eat Well program is similar to the We Can program out of Edmonton and with the help of Sobey’s Morinville owners Shaun and Susie Thompson, they have been able to create a local program.

“With his help, we were able to create a program similar to We Can that would remain local,” Mills said. “We could access all of our produce and all of our meats from Sobeys and be able to offer it to families in the community at a low cost.”

Sobeys Morinville co-owner Shaun Thompson said he and Susie Thompson were approached by Mills a few years ago and were happy to assist.

“They (FCSS) just wanted to make sure they got a well-balanced offering,” Thompson said. “It was just the right thing to do.”

Mills said each $30 monthly package has four different servings of three different fruits, three different vegetables and three different meats.

“There’s almost always bananas; there’s almost always ground beef and potatoes,” Mills explained, noting Sobeys takes what is available to them and adds variety at cost to help change things up month to month.

Thompson said that while there is usually one fruit, one vegetable and one meat consistent month to month, the timing of flyer specials has allowed them to offer extra value to the hampers.

“If we have a great flyer item that week, we can give them a great item,” Thompson said. “There was one Eat Well basket where they got a warehouse package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It’s a unique program, and we are super excited to be a part of it.”

Although program numbers over the summer are typically down in the 50 to 60 hamper range, fall will see an increase to as high as 100 during the school year.

Mills points out that the program is for more than just those on limited or fixed incomes. It is available for anyone who wants to participate.

“We really want people to understand that it is something that literally anyone in the community can access,” Mills said. “There is zero stigma attached. Everyone in the community can access it.”

However, there is help available for those in need. The Midstream Support Society purchases ten packages each month, allowing Mills to assist families in need through the non-profit’s generosity.

“The nice thing about the fact this program is open to everyone is that I can identify and offer those hampers to families in need, but they can pick up with no stigma because nobody would know if it is donated or not,” Mills said.

The Eat Well program has expanded beyond simply offering good food at a good cost. They have also begun offering workshops. The next one, taught by a Primary Care Network dietician, occurs at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre on Monday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. The Midstream Support Society is the sponsor of the event.

To sign up for September’s Eat Well basket, visit or the front desk of Town Hall, the Morinville Cultural Centre or Morinville Leisure Centre.

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