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‘These guys are amazing’: Southern Alberta non-profit supports rural communities

‘These guys are amazing’: Southern Alberta non-profit supports rural communities

LETHBRIDGE —
Calgary Family Peer Connections (CFPC) received its largest shipment of food and supplies ever on Friday and now, it’s giving back.

The items came from Second Harvest, a ‘food rescue’ group that distributes unsold food to charities and non-profits across Canada.

CFPC delivered the goods to community reps in Champion, Nobleford, Monarch, Raymond, Vulcan, Willow Creek, and Barons.

“There are pallets and pallets of food when we go pick it up that just needs to be given out to people, otherwise it just gets thrown in the garbage which is really sad to see.” said Barons Fire Chief Byron Fraser, who was handing out food to people all afternoon.

“Sometimes it’s all their groceries and it really gives us the chance to notice the people in the community and kind of do a little check on them to try and help with their mental health too.”

Mental health is a huge part of the non-profit’s effort.

Founder and senior director of CFPC Jacquie Duhacek said it’s especially important to be able to check in with the people living outside of the city during the pandemic.

“We have to remember in smaller communities there isn’t that availability of programming. There is not the same availability to mental health. There’s not the same access to food and food resources that you would see in a bigger centre.”

In Barons, cars were lined up around the block.

Local firefighters helped load up people’s vehicles with bundles of food and took some time to chat with them and give out pamphlets on available mental health supports.

“These guys are amazing to do what they’re doing and they’re helping a lot of people. Certainly in this hard time with COVID, people have lost their jobs so this really helps those families that don’t have much.” said one resident.

There definitely isn’t a shortage of food to go around, prompting a number of residents to share the generous load they were given.

“I think it’s great. I get more than enough for just me, so I share with my kids and my grandkids,” said another Barons resident after volunteers loaded her car with multiple boxes of muffins, popcorn, soup and other items.

With more than two full trailers of food ready to be given out in Barons alone, it’s easy to see why volunteers were filling people’s cars to the brim.

CFPC has applied for multiple grants through the government, but they have been turned down each time.

The group said it is hoping to hear from other rural communities that would benefit from their services.

In Barons, Chief Fraser says he’s hoping to be able to hand out food to those in need on at least one occasion each month

Published at Sun, 31 Jan 2021 00:56:00 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos

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