By Greg Price
Christmas has come early for the Taber Food Bank, both from the generosity of the community and some good news from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta.
The Taber Food Bank was one of 27 projects throughout Southwestern Alberta to be selected for the Community Priorities Fund. The fund exists as the result of private donations received from generous individuals since 1966.
Twice a year, the Community Foundation accepts proposals for grants from the Community Priorities Fund, supporting the work of many worthy charitable causes throughout Southwestern Alberta.
The Taber Food Bank Society received $10,000 which it will use for replacement of food storage appliances and maintenance equipment.
“We have some residential fridges up front that don’t hold up to commercial use. So we are replacing them with a commercial freezer and a commercial cooler that we can use where we have pretty heavy traffic at the front,” said Kevin Leahy, president of the Taber Food Bank Society. “We are replacing some counters and also putting in a hand-wash station. We are also purchasing a washer and dryer. It’s not so much for food, but the grant is for infrastructure stuff. It makes the daily operations of the food bank a lot smoother.”
Apart from the securing the grant, the Taber Food Bank has seen a huge outpouring of support from the community during the holiday season.
The Stuff-A-Bus campaign earlier this month saw 5,446 pounds of food raised thanks to the efforts of school students, Taber IGA and Co-op, Saunders Insurance and First Student. A huge amount of volunteers also showed up the next day for sorting the bounty that saw the job done before noon even though the whole day was bookmarked.
Jenna Kempe and Jeanette Umbach helped lead a zumba class at the Taber Community Centre Auditorium where admission was donations to the food bank that resulted in 272 pounds of food. The Taber Clinic collected donations for the food bank for several weeks and was able to garner another 330 pounds in food. Taking a look at the Taber Food Bank Facebook Page and one will see how the business community and citizens alike have heeded the call of the food bank.
“All those little things add up to so much generosity from our community and our town, I can’t thank them enough,” said Leahy.
“We had an amazing amount of volunteers for the event, it was just incredible.”
The winter months are the busiest time of the year for Taber Food Bank use, although the need is year around. Along with the monthly 150 hampers the food bank hampers, there is also approximately 200 Christmas hampers being given out.
“We always appreciate the continued support in our community and it shows the importance of keeping a food bank in our community in helping fight off hunger,” said Leahy. “There a lot of product going over the counter.”