By Laura Keil

The Valemount Food Bank has found a new temporary location downtown and has been finding new ways to share food with those who need it most.

The Goat wants to give a shout-out to Ernie Shergold and Dave MacDowell who donated their earnings from the Winter Stories Contest to the Valemount Food Bank. Thank you for your generous donation to support our community! Right: Food Bank member Ruth Hanus and Goat Publisher Laura Keil with the $200 cheque. / GOAT PHOTO

Food Bank board member Ruth Hanus says the number of food bank recipients has grown during COVID-19 as many struggle to maintain stable employment. The Food Bank board realized more people were needing help than were accessing the food bank. They decided to pivot their approach from being solely a place people can request food, to doing active outreach to people they know need help.

“A lot of peopleâ€like seniorsâ€would never come to us,” Hanus said. She noted it’s often embarrassing and painful to admit you need help.

The food bank has offered food packages to all residents in the local seniors housing and have reached out to other community members they know are struggling.

The FoodMesh programâ€a partnership with IGA to salvage close-to-expiry-date foodsâ€has allowed the food bank to offer frozen meat to single parents, who wouldn’t have normally accessed the food bank.

“As long as we can get the meat in the freezer a few days before the expiry, we are good,” Hanus explained.

The food bank was previously in a church, but some clients were uncomfortable with that location. Their new temporary home, at the back of the old VLC office, will allow the food bank to continue to operate until they find a permanent location.

To make a donation to the food bank, you can drop off non-perishable goods or money at any food bank drop-off, including the Rocky Mountain Goat office.