Thursday, 15 December 2016 11:20

Efforts for Swift Current food bank appreciated

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The ongoing support of Hutterite colonies in southwest Saskatchewan for the food bank in Swift Current is making a difference to people in need throughout the year.

The success of the 19th annual Hutterian Salvation Army food bank donation drive was celebrated with a presentation to the Hutterian Brethren on Dec. 13 to acknowledge the contribution of the colonies. The appreciation day included a well-attended luncheon hosted by the Salvation Army.
Sandra Brong, the manager of the food bank in Swift Current, said Hutterite colonies support the food bank throughout the year.
“There's over 100 deliveries made throughout the year,” she noted. “We have anywhere from 22 to 25 colonies in this area that give to the Salvation Army.”
The appreciation day was a means to express gratitude towards the colonies for their ongoing contributions towards the food bank.
“I just find it amazing how we can feel like we're running low on potatoes or something and in they come with a big load,” she said. “I never really have to worry about where it's going to come from next, because it comes.”
The Salvation Army in Swift Current will be distributing 280 food hampers this festive season as part of its annual Christmas campaign, which will be an increase of about eight per cent over last year.
People who registered to receive a food hamper have indicated different reasons why they need some support during this time.
“There is a good variety of reasons, but mainly the loss of jobs of course, not just oil field, but throughout,” she said. “There's not ever one specific thing, but a variety of reasons why people are down on their luck right now or just not doing as well.”
People who receive support from the food bank will often return the favour when their personal situations have improved.
“I find it amazing how many come in and say ‘when I get on my feet again I will be giving back,’” she said. “So it's just amazing, and then I see them come into the door with the big cheque, because now they're back on their feet and they can help us out again.”
The Hutterian food bank donation drive is a joint effort between the co-operating Hutterite colonies and Swift Current businesses Pioneer Co-op Agro, Bank of Nova Scotia, Meyers Norris Penny and JayDee AgTech. Representatives from the participating businesses expressed their gratitude towards the colonies at the appreciation luncheon.
Major Don Grad of the Swift Current Salvation Army said they prepared 260 food hampers last year, which represented over 26,000 pounds of food.
In addition to the eight per cent increase in the number of food hampers that will be distributed this Christmas, the Salvation Army has seen an increase in need throughout the year on a weekly basis.
“We have probably given out 10 or 15 per cent more hampers on a weekly basis,” he said. “So we've done some adjustments to our processing to be able to handle that increase without making anyone wait too long. So it wasn't a surprise that were up a little bit.”
The Swift Current Salvation Army's goal is to raise $195,000 with this year's Christmas campaign. Major Don Grad is confident that target will be achieved.
“Financially our fundraising is going very well,” he said. “I can't say thank you to Swift Current and area enough.”
The bells will be ringing at the Salvation Army kettles at different locations around Swift Current until Christmas Eve. People who are interested to volunteer for a two-hour shift at the kettles can call the Salvation Army office at 306-778-0515 for more information.

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Matthew Liebenberg