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Mountain View Food Bank facing new challenges

Cremona looks at community pantry possibility
MVT Mountain View Food Bank
Volunteers work at the Mountain View Food Bank in Olds. Noel West/MVP Staff

OLDS – The COVID-19 pandemic is creating new challenges for the Mountain View Food Bank, says director Patricia Graham.

Serving communities across the Mountain View County district, the bank is located at 5025 – 50 Street in Olds, and is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Graham says although the food bank currently has money to purchase food, supplies have become hard to come by.

“Right now our shelves are stocked but Calgary is going dry so we cannot go pick up food there until maybe May,” Graham said last week. “And the stores where we order from, (on March 24) they weren’t delivering anything. I don’t know if just (March 24) they couldn’t deliver the stuff we need because they are short or if it’s something we are going to have to deal with.

“We aren’t going to run out of food in the very near future, that’s for sure, but we hope that things open up and that we can get supplies in again. That’s a very new challenge for us, that it’s not available.”

Asked if she believes COVID-19 related layoffs in the district have resulted in more people seeking assistance from the food bank, she said, “It’s too early to tell. We have been really quite busy in February and March. The demand is up that’s for sure and it’s going to get higher and higher as more and more people lose their jobs.”

COVID-19 has also impacted the way clients are being served at the facility.

“It is affecting us,” she said. “As a rule we let everybody in at one time, but we can’t do that now and that means that people are lining up outside. We are trying to find the best results we can.”

Cremona eyes temporary food bank

Meanwhile, Jennie Thompson, coordinator of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) in Cremona, says she is looking into the possibility of forming a community pantry – a small-scale temporary food bank – in the village.

“Our food bank is in Olds and even if you do have a driver to take you there, the drivers don’t want to be with people because people are trying to keep their space,” she said. “It would just be a temporary thing for the village and surrounding rural area.”

She said she is investigating to see if there are grants available for the project.

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