For Immediate Release – Monday, April 18, 2016
Lethbridge Food Bank Receives $50,000 for Critical Facility Renovations from Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta
The Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta is supporting critical renovations to the Lethbridge Food Bank with a $50,000 grant.
“The food bank system in our region is consistently challenged by lack of resources and steady demand, regardless of the economy,” said Dennis Hatt, the Community Foundation’s president. “Our vital grant to the Lethbridge Food Bank is an investment that will help them make some much-needed changes to their facility. This will ultimately improve their ability to help people now, and in the future.”
For the past few years, the Lethbridge Food Bank (LFB) has been providing regular food support to more than 1,600 client visits and over 650 monthly hampers. More than 40 percent of the people served have children. The LFB warehouse typically moves 50,000 lbs of food per month to clients and partner food banks -- all from a space they have occupied for nearly 30 years and which was not designed for that volume of food or client traffic.
“The support from the Community Foundation will allow us to move forward with some critical renovations that will allow us to better serve our clients and improve the work environment for our volunteers and staff,” said Cathy Gejdos, President of the Lethbridge Food Bank. “On behalf of our board, volunteers, staff and, especially, clients, I wish to thank them for this generous grant.”
Gejdos said the expansion will allow for the reconfiguration of more than 1,900 sq. ft. of useable space within the building, a former garage and retail facility that the Lethbridge Food Bank Society has occupied since 1989 and owned since 2007. Entrances will be reconfigured to facilitate better client flow, and space will be reclaimed from other parts of the building to improve both the client intake privacy functions and food management processes.
“Right now, we have no private place for people to register, and at times we have people lined up outside while they wait for service,” Gejdos said. “In any environment this is unacceptable. Our goal, in addition to providing food, is also to provide some dignity for people experiencing tough times.”
Gejdos said the changes to the Lethbridge Food Bank facility will ultimately benefit other food bank organizations as well. “Through a co-operative relationship with Interfaith Food bank, the two organizations share a client intake data system, and other resources to maximize food storage and distribution of food to improve efficiency.” A previous Community Foundation contribution helped fund a joint Interfaith and Lethbridge Food Bank client data system.
The Lethbridge Food Bank and the Interfaith Food bank are members of the Alberta Food Banks Association. With better food management systems Gejdos said the LFB can food share within the community and with rural food banks.
LFB is currently seeking additional funds to assist with the completion of the project. Their overall goal is to raise approximately $125,000 to support the renovation and building upgrades, which are expected to be complete by mid-August, 2016. A plan is in place to manage client traffic during the renovations.