The Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank has a new home.
 
Since 1993, the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank has operated out of a modest 1,650 square foot building. While their current space has served the food bank well over the years, the need for a larger space has been clear for quite a while.
 
The volume of clients accessing the food bank has increased significantly since 2015, according to executive director of the Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank, Kassandra Gartner. The amount of donated food has also increased, with 275,604 lbs processed in 2020.

“Our hamper volume has more than tripled over the last number of years. Our usage of the building has also increased dramatically in that we are open five days a week, and have volunteers working shifts seven days a week,” she explained, noting in 2020 there were 10,913 volunteer hours logged. “Our programming has expanded so the need for a new building has been evident for quite a while and it was just a matter of finding the right facility in the right location.” 

The new building, located at 11226 88 Avenue, is considerably larger, at almost ten times the space. The 15,405 square feet offered at the new location means programs like the Christmas hamper and toy campaign run every year can now happen under one roof. Operated by the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherer Society, the annual drive was run at secondary locations because of the lack of space at the current food bank site.
 
Additional space will also make it easier for staff and volunteers to keep a safe distance from one another while working.
 
Through the pandemic, the food bank operated with only 37 per cent of its volunteers. Gartner explained the food bank made an effort to support volunteers who needed to step away and stay home.
 
“The amount of work didn’t lessen, but the number of volunteers that we had to do the work did significantly. With a facility that’s an adequate size, we can have larger shifts of volunteers working; there will now be ample space for people to work and to still remain a safe distance.” 
 
Gartner added the food bank is not a government-funded agency and relies on the community to help them support those in need.
 
“We are funded by our community, 100 per cent by our community and local industry, and we are very appreciative that they support the food bank so that we can support our community. It’s really important for us as an organization to express our gratitude and appreciation that whenever there is a need, it’s met so that we can provide uninterrupted, ongoing support for the community and those who are currently struggling.
 
The process of moving the food bank will begin Friday (May 28) with the first hamper being made in the new building on June 1. There will be no interruptions in service during that time.