How is the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village helping the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic? Our priority, as always, remains the provision of emergency nutritional support for the residents of St. Albert and Sturgeon County. Our collaboration with our formal and informal partners continues to enable us to meet this mission.
We are seeing a significant increase in the number of families requesting assistance from the St. Albert Food Bank since COVID-19 came on the scene and we are not expecting our numbers to diminish any time soon. We currently have over 1,000 families on file and anticipate an increase for families needing assistance as people are not able to work due to their place of employment being closed and/or the lack of child care. Folks are coming in telling us that their hours have been cut back and they can’t afford rent let alone food. This all adds up to a lot of stress on a lot of families.
The pandemic has resulted in some families living in highly stressful environments. We know many families in St. Albert struggle each month to feed their families and many depend on both breakfast and lunch programs at schools to support their children’s nutritional needs. With schools closed, those meal options are no longer available.
A crisis like this brings out both the best and worst in folks. Grocery stores have been striving to keep up with the demand for staple items as many residents are stock-piling supplies to support them through this pandemic. For families who struggle to buy basic necessities each month, witnessing other folks piling their grocery carts high with food may cause significant stress and possible anxiety as they view the empty shelves and wonder how they are going to be able to feed their family.
Our families are coming in saying how scared they are, not only about the virus but about not having enough food for their families.
The residents of the City of St. Albert along with the staff are known for their compassion and willingness to help those who need it most. This is the time that we come together as a community to help those who are in need. You may not be able to help them face-to-face but continuing to help stock the food bank will help them through this crisis
The St. Albert Food Bank has initiated safety protocols to keep our families, volunteers, staff and visitors protected. We are limiting the number of people coming into the waiting room to two and if anyone has a cough or other symptoms that could suggest COVID-19 we are asking them to wait outside while we get their food hamper ready. We are also very fortunate to be partnering with the Salvation Army who is helping us with food deliveries to those who are self-isolating or are too ill to come out. There have been amazing businesses and residents that have contacted us who are willing to help their neighbours through these challenging times. Together – we can do this!