New program aims to boost fresh food for local seniors

Wetaskiwin Mall introduces ‘Seniors Food Security Initiative’

The Wetaskiwin community is excited about a new charitable program aimed at boosting fresh food for local seniors who are having trouble with their food budgets.

A new program called “Seniors Food Security Initiative” is being spearheaded by staff and vendors of the Wetaskiwin Mall, operated by Avenue Living.

Promotions coordinator Brandy Pfeil said Avenue Living’s vision for the program is to collect fresh food donations every week to supplement local seniors’ pantries.

She said the mall will make space available in front of the admin office every Wednesday morning during the farmers market hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program also has access to a cooler for donations that are perishable.

Then on Thursday morning staff and volunteers will sort the donations and deliver them to the Wetaskiwin Seniors Centre, who can then disperse the donations to seniors who can benefit.

Pfeil said Avenue Living is aware there are many seniors in Wetaskiwin who could benefit from the program but aren’t members of the seniors centre; she said the mall is working on creating a master list of all seniors who would like to participate.

Pfeil said the program differs from, for example, food banks which offer a wide variety of food; the Seniors Food Security initiative only focuses on one type: fresh. “What we’re looking for is the fresh food,” she said. This includes fare such as bread, meat and eggs, to name a few.

Idea to help

Pfeil said not that long ago Avenue Living staff were chatting with mall vendors, specifically Pat Barton at Little Slice of Heaven Bakery. The bakery had started a program in cooperation with the local food bank and outreach groups where people who needed a bit of help could get a food voucher at a local thrift store and bring it to the bakery to exchange for a meal. Bakery staff saw a lot of seniors come in.

Avenue Living staff had talked about how important it was to show appreciation and respect to seniors, the people who built the community.

Pfeil said the mall wanted to do something to give back to the community.

Those interested in donating can also find Pfeil at the mall admin office weekdays.

Anyone with questions about the program can call or text her at 780-362-0473 or email her at bpfeil@avenueliving.ca.

Fundraising event

A special event is coming up to raise funds for the Seniors Food Security Initiative, called “A Hungry Affair,” being held June 6 at the Little Slice of Heaven Bakery in the Wetaskiwin Mall. Lunch will be $3, while lunch plus a donation is $5 (cash only). The menu will consist of Kraft-brand macaroni and cheese, the number one donated item which food banks across Canada receive.

RSVP’s are appreciated, so organizers know how many people to expect. Email Pfeil above to register. Proceeds will be donated to the Seniors Food Security Initiative.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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