The Lakes District Food Bank has increased the frequency of its deliveries to the Southside in the aftermath of the wildfire season. Seeing here is volunteer driver Bruce Martens. (Lakes District News file photo)

Food bank helping out in the aftermath of Burns Lake wildfires

Weekly deliveries to Southbank and Grassy Plains

The Lakes District Food Bank has stepped up to the plate to support residents south of Burns Lake in the aftermath of this summer’s devastating wildfires.

Since Oct. 1, the food bank has increased the frequency of its mobile delivery service to the Southside, which is now seeing deliveries every Monday.

“Due to the presence of emergency supports during the fires, we were not called on for help at that time, but feel this is the time where the food bank will be needed the most, in the aftermath,” said food bank coordinator Candice Little.

“There are many people who were unable to bring in their annual garden harvest due to the wildfires, and many who are also struggling with loss of property and livelihood, and just need a leg up to get back on their feet again.”

In order to make its weekly deliveries to both Grassy Plains and Southbank, the food bank uses a cargo van equipped with a refrigeration unit to keep perishable goods at consistent temperatures.

Although this mobile service was launched in April, prior to the wildfire season the food bank was making deliveries to the Southside every two weeks.

READ MORE: Mobile food bank fighting rural poverty

“We used to go to Southbank and Grassy Plains every other Wednesday, and to Topley, Tachet and Granisle on the opposite week,” explained Little. “The Southside service has now been moved to Mondays to accommodate the weekly service.”

Deliveries to Topley, Tachet and Granisle will continue to take place every other Wednesday, with the next delivery scheduled for Oct. 17.

People experiencing poverty in far-flung locations near Burns Lake used to face a special set of circumstances, having to improvise to get a ride into town during the weekly distribution that happens on Tuesdays.

Little said some Southside residents have already thanked the food bank for the increased service.

“I have had residents express their appreciation that we are aware that folks may be struggling, and are trying to be proactive in our approach to support people.”

But with increased service, also comes an increased need for donations, particularly of pasta sauces, dish and laundry detergents and coffee, according to Little.

“At a time when we are called on for more food items, we focus our spending our budgeted dollars on the staples and fresh vegetables and fruit, so these more expensive items are the first to get scratched from our shopping list.”

Little added that money donations help the food bank fill the gaps when they don’t receive certain items.

“At the end of the day, we are grateful for any and all help we can get on behalf of the hungry neighbours in our communities.”

Southside deliveries take place at the Southbank SEDA Centre from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and at the Southside Health and Wellness Centre from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.

The weekly deliveries to the Southside are expected to continue until Dec. 17, 2018.

RELATED: Burns Lake’s food bank builds Community Kitchen Garden

– With files from

David Gordon Koch

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