With the first bell of the new school year fast approaching, the St. Albert Food Bank is looking for donations to fill the bellies of learning children.
Food bank executive director Suzan Krecsy said the organization is especially on the lookout for peanut-free and gluten-free snacks for its school snack program.
While the program has no official name, Krecsy said every year schools will call the food bank with a list of snacks they need – such as granola bars, fruit cups and juice – and the food bank delivers. Everything sent to elementary schools has to be peanut free, and Krecsy said ichiban noodles would also be a great donation, because kids love them.
“Especially in September for schools, school snacks that are peanut free are really great,” she said. “If anybody can share any gluten free things, that’s really good as well, because we have a lot of celiacs.”
Additionally, Krecsy said the food bank is low this year on higher protein canned goods to send in hampers, including canned salmon and tuna.
“St. Albert always take care of us. Our non-perishables are a little bit on the low side right now, but that’s in preparation for our big food drive this September,” Krecsy said. “We’re balancing it out with a lot of fresh produce.”
Summer is a great time for donations, Krecsy said, between donated produce from people’s backyard gardens and orchards, to farmers market leftovers and more recently, the St. Albert Walmart and Costco have signed on to donating fresh produce and meat. Sometimes the food bank receives as much as 1,000 pounds of potatoes, just from people’s backyards.
“Our families are getting really, really generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, and then anything that’s leftover that we can’t give out, because it’s not as pretty, we make into jams,” Krecsy said. “Most food banks now are looking at being able to offer healthier options, and we’ll always need the non-perishables but it’s always nice to have that healthier option and have that more balanced type of hamper that’s going out.”
Also in preparation for school, the food bank is running its annual Tools for School program Aug. 24, which provides backpacks full of school supplies to families in need.
The food bank is now looking ahead to its biggest food drive of the year Sept. 21, and is still looking for volunteers to help.
Each year the drive is run by Red Willow Church, and this year they will be delivering 25,000 bags throughout the city that will then be collected – hopefully full of food items – Sept. 21.
Anyone who is interested in picking up a route to deliver paper bags throughout St. Albert can call the volunteer co-ordinator Tiffany Terry at 780-459-0599 ext. 4.