The Lloydminster Salvation Army is prepping for the Fall. Already they note that daily calls for help are up.
Head of the local chapter Major Bond Jennings says they are very well supported in the Midwest community, but says the phone line is ringing.
“We’re distributing food to people who come to us for assistance; three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The last month; month and a half, we have seen an increase in people needing assistance. So we basically are having our schedules filled with people coming for assistance.”
Over the course of the COVID months, they have benefitted from $135,000 in Federal funds which has allowed them to add to their fresh food supplies. Things like fresh milk, eggs, potatoes, carrots and onions have been added to their food hampers. They were also able to buy a vehicle for the food program to pick up food supplies, a cooler for fresh food storage and a large capacity freezer.
The Salvation Army nationally is in line to benefit from another Federal grant of 8.16 million dollars. This was announced in August to help Canadians in need to access food.
Jennings added they do not have large storage space, but they are thankful as several local businesses continue to give generous food donations. They are now putting plans in place for the Christmas season.
“We are going to be contacting local businesses again to see if we can get a location in their place of business for our kettle stands. We will be preparing according to what we did last year and preparing the food hampers according to those numbers.”
Jennings said last year they began taking applications for Christmas hampers in October. They have been limiting the number of people coming into their building and they will continue to take calls over the phone.
With requests for help being up in the Midwest area, Jennings lists a few areas where people can pitch in.
“Along with the schools and the teachers, we supply a kids kit to the schools every Friday for children they have identified that may be going home on the weekend and not eating properly for whatever reason that may be.”
With school reopening, he suggests people can give things like Kraft dinner, Quaker oats, juice boxes, nut-free Granola bars and other things that kids can prepare themselves.
Jennings adds on occasion they need able-bodies to help unload and move food donations into storage and people can also volunteer their time that way.
As their funding is specific to food, there are some other items which they do not usually have, but that they get requests for. Jennings lists these as laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, baby formula, diapers and other non-food items.
Jennings is in high praise of local businesses and even farmers who have pitched in over the two years he has been in Lloydminster. He has served in Nova Scotia, B.C. and Ontario and says he is amazed at the support that the Midwest community has shown the Salvation Army.
Residents may call to book an appointment at 780-875-9166.