Essential resources are available to those who need them
If it’s a struggle to buy food, clothing, or other essentials this winter, local organizations are here to lend a helping hand.
On Thursdays from 5 to 8 pm, Alberta Ave Community League holds its Community Hub Night inside the hall. Ali Hammington, league president, says, “Right now we’re operating essential services only. We’ll introduce other activities as soon as the restrictions are lifted.”
Among the free resources right now are a food pantry, a food bank for pets, and warm clothing provided by GiveBack Edmonton. People can take two to three days’ worth of food. Fresh Routes Mobile Grocery is also on site from 6 to 7:30 pm selling fruits, veggies, eggs and bread at affordable prices.
The Community Hub is meant for community members and nearby communities, but people from other areas of the city won’t be turned away. “If someone says they need it, I believe them.”
Barb Sharpe, co-founder of GiveBack Edmonton, is working with organizers of the Community Hub. GiveBack Edmonton accepts donations of all household goods except for furniture and electronics due to storage space, and gives items to people in need.
“Our biggest demographic is those who are living on the streets, or making the transition from homelessness to housing.” She adds, “It’s for anybody and everybody in need.” Some items go to the Community Hub. Sharpe is currently taking some time off, but those wishing to donate may contact GiveBack Edmonton through facebook.com/GiveBackEdmonton.
Bethel Gospel Chapel is the location of Bethel Food Pantry as well as a delivery location for Wecan Food Basket.
Christy Morin, Arts on the Ave (AOTA) executive director, says the food pantry, “Came out of a community need.” Morin is part of a City task force addressing food needs. “We knew we needed something people could walk to.”
Bethel Food Pantry runs Mondays from 3 to 5 pm. No identification is needed to access the pantry.
It’s set up like an old style grocery store. “They go shopping,” explains Morin. “We wanted to do this with dignity.” People can fill two to three bags and are encouraged to bring their own bags or donate plastic bags. Edmonton’s Food Bank supplies some food, but donations are accepted. Volunteers are needed. Donate food on Mondays from 3 to 5 pm.
Wecan Food Basket deliveries used to be at Crystal Kids, but is now at Bethel Gospel Chapel.
Frank Parker, a volunteer, says, “We moved to Bethel Gospel Chapel at the beginning of the pandemic.”
Wecan Food Basket is a wholesale buying club and members purchase a $5 membership annually. Members place an order on the first Friday of each month and pick up their baskets on either the third Thursday or Friday of each month. Baskets include a $10 produce basket; a $15 meat basket; and a $15 meat basket without pork. Place orders online at wecanfood.com or call 780.413.4525.
Wayne Thomas, pastor of Avenue Vineyard Church, says the church is making daily Food Bank hamper deliveries to people who have registered through Edmonton’s Food Bank. “The church in partnership with the centre is also providing some emergency food relief on a case by case basis. The Food Bank hamper deliveries are also in partnership with the centre.”
Another resource is called Families Helping Families, an AOTA initiative. A volunteer family is matched with a family who requires food. The volunteer family agrees to buy and deliver $75 worth of groceries for another family twice a month for six months.
“You get a grocery list of food from the family and you go shopping for them,” says Morin. “Volunteer families can come from anywhere in Edmonton.” Before volunteering, families must complete some forms and give references.
Families who require food support must live in the area of 66 Street to 106 Street and from the Yellowhead to 111 Avenue.
Morin says 40 to 50 more volunteer families are needed. “COVID has magnified the need of the community.”
To participate, email [email protected] or call 780.471.1580.
Visit alberta.ca/covid19 for current information on any restrictions or guidelines.
Alberta Ave Community Hub
9210 118 Ave
Thursdays, 5-8 pm
Bethel Food Pantry
11461 95 St
Mondays, 3-5 pm
Featured Image: This is what Bethel Food Pantry looked like when first started in September. | Christy Morin