Program has helped over 70 families so far this year
The Indian Head Ecumenical Food Hamper program is in need of community support through monetary donations. In the past, various organizations in the community collected food for the year-round program but the impact of COVID-19 and a loss of storage space changed how the program operates. Instead of providing a box of food to those in need, the committee now responds to each request by providing gift cards for Bigway Foods grocery store.
There are three churches involved and the need for help is too great for them to handle alone. Throughout all of 2021, the group distributed 13 hampers but the need has drastically increased. From January to October 2022, there have been over 70 requests for assistance.
“People are so grateful,” committee member Linda Jinks told Grasslands News. “They find it difficult to ask and are so relieved when we can help.”
The cost of a hamper for a single individual is about $100 but nearly all the recent requests involve families with multiple children. The food hamper program receives requests most frequently at the middle and end of the month, sometimes hearing from as many as four families in one week. Jinks said an inflation rate of 10.8 per cent for food over the last year is a big factor, as well as other increases in the cost of living.
Recently the treasurer paid the bill at Bigway Foods and was left with $394 in the account. That morning, cards worth $375 were ordered and depleted the account. Fortunately, members of the United Church donated funds so the program could carry on at that time and the group hopes to receive help from the CPR Holiday Train later this year. However, more support is needed for the important service to continue in Indian Head.
Bigway Foods will have containers for cash donations at the checkout counters. Cheques can be made payable to “Indian Head Ecumenical Food Hamper Program,” or if a tax receipt is needed then cheques can be made out to “St. Andrew’s United Church” indicating the money is meant for the food hampers.