lifenow

Airdrie Food Bank facilitates good will of community during difficult time

Story by Stacie Gaetz

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Photos by iStock

The way the organization distributes food to those in need may have changed, but the Airdrie Food Bank is still dedicated to making sure no local residents go hungry during this challenging time.

The food bank is just one of Airdrie’s non-profit organizations that have had to completely reinvent the way they provide their products and services because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Together we are feeling the uncertainty, fear and confusion COVID-19 has caused for many,” said Lori McRitchie, executive director of the Airdrie Food Bank.

“We at the food bank are making our way through these changes as we serve our community with the safety of clients, volunteers and staff as the first priority for us. Our ongoing mandate is to keep our community members, who are in need of food support, fed.”

She said demand for the local food bank has risen by 50 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, due at least in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she expects the need to increase throughout the summer.

“We are preparing to meet this rising need and in order to keep our community safe some of our processes are going to look a little different,” said McRitchie.

New processes that the food bank has implemented include a drive-thru pick up option, increased no-contact delivery services, changes to the snack programs that were distributed through schools and more.

“Over the years, I have been blessed to lead the community in feeding each other and will continue to take great pride in being a part of the Airdrie community, my home with a huge heart,” said McRitchie.

She added that for the first time in history, food banks were recognized as an essential service and have been able to operate throughout the entire pandemic.

“It is very important to us to get that designation because it means we can continue to serve the community and meet the needs,” she said.

“We are in a unique time in that there are many people out there who didn’t think they would ever need this support and now because they were laid off, they do. Add to that the fact that many seniors or other vulnerable people can’t or don’t want to risk going shopping and you have a high demand for services.”

She added that it touches her heart to see the generosity of the community and the fact that so many people are stepping up to help during this difficult time.

“The heroes are the community members, the volunteers who pack hampers, the delivery drivers, the shoppers who buy a little extra and drop it off in the bin at the grocery store and the online donors who have lost their own jobs but want to give a little something because they know they are better off than someone else,” she added.

She said residents should not be hesitant to call the food bank at 403-948-0063, email info@airdriefoodbank.com or visit the website to ask for help. The organization is dedicated to working with each person and getting food to them in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable.