Having outgrown its shared space, the Millet Food Bank is looking for a new location in town in which it can expand operations.
The food bank currently shares an office and back room with the Millet Youth Centre. “We’ve just outgrown the space we have here. And they’ve been very generous here … and they’ve tried to provide us a little more space,” said Debbie Herman, manager.
Herman says one of the biggest challenges the food bank faces is, with any food drive, there is no space to collect, sort and store the abundance of food brought in.
A counter space to provide a sorting area is needed. “A working area that can be sanitized and kept up to Alberta Health Standards,” said Herman.
At it’s current location the food bank has no cold storage unit and Herman says the organization is having to turn people away who are donating perishable food items or food from their own gardens.
Alberta Food Banks has a free egg-share program and Herman says Millet is not able to participate with nowhere to store the eggs. “Right now we’re buying our own eggs.”
With a shared office and no front foyer, Herman says another concern is privacy. “Sometimes people want that anonymity.”
Having a shared space also adds inefficiencies. The food bank has a free-take grocery shelf set out every day for more obscure items not added to food hampers. But Herman says it takes time having to continually set it up and take it down.
The food bank has looked at some retail space in town already but they were was right along Highway 2A, which Herman says goes back to the issue of privacy. “It might deter some people because people don’t want others to know they’re accessing those services.”
“We have looked around, there is definitely some retail space in the community but reasonable space is cost prohibitive for us,” she added.
The food bank has no guaranteed steady income and Herman says that is posing problems as the organization looks to move into a bigger space.
Along with feasible retail space, Herman is hoping the community will be able to find it in itself to provide financial support in this endeavour.