ESTEVAN — Canada Post has had to push its Stamp Out Hunger food drive – the annual community-wide initiative, spearheaded by employees to help refill the Estevan Salvation Army food bank's shelves – until the fall.
The drive took place in the fall until a few years ago when it was decided to move it to the early summer due to the food bank's need for support ahead of a very busy season, said director of ministry Ronza Reynard. She noted that "In the fall there always seemed to be multiple food drives happening in town to benefit the food bank, and through conversation with Canada Post they suggested moving it to June [back then]."
However, this year Canada Post was not able to have all their staff available to ensure the food fundraiser would go smoothly, so it was decided to postpone it.
While the event was rescheduled this year, the food bank's needs ahead of summer are still there. The Salvation Army tried running a food drive on their own in their building before, but Reynard said without the help of other organizations, it wasn't as successful.
"If a food drive is done somewhere where there is high traffic, that works better," she explained.
So, to ensure they have enough resources to keep supporting their patrons, the Salvation Army is turning to the community.
"We hope people will continue to support us throughout the summer months with either food drop-offs or monetary assistance," Reynard said in an email to the Mercury. "With kids being out of school for those summer months, it does add extra costs to families that struggle when the kids are in school and even more so when they are out of school.
"We continue to see more and more people coming to the food bank as the cost of everything increases what seems like daily. People are just having a hard time making ends meet. We do appreciate all the support that our community does for us, whether that be by food donations, food drives or monetary donations."
The Estevan Salvation Army's food bank supports 235-260 people on a monthly basis, and that number is growing steadily.
Reynard said that their stocks are currently a little low and the Salvation Army is hoping to place an order soon to start filling them for the summer. The most needed items include peanut butter, cereal, beans, soup, soup crackers, canned meat, rice, spaghetti/macaroni, pancake mix and syrup. The Salvation Army also accepts monetary donations, which helps them buy needed groceries.
"Either way [monetary donations or food drop-offs] works for us; it depends on the donor, if they want a tax receipt then a monetary donation is best," Reynard said.
Because they are so busy, an appointment is necessary to apply for support from the food bank. So, if someone needs food, please call 306-634-2074 and book an appointment.
The Salvation Army is a Christian church and charity with a focus on personal holiness and social service. They have several ministry programs that meet the spiritual, emotional, physical and practical needs of the people of Estevan and the area. Outside of the food bank, services include their church, thrift store, emergency disaster services, shelter assistance, outreach assistance to the homeless and camping programs.
They currently have a number of camping opportunities available, including Adventure Camp for kids ages seven to 12, happening July 17-21; Teen Camp for kids ages 13-17 taking place July 24-28, and a Moms and Kids Camp for kids from newborn to 12 years old and their mothers happening on Aug. 8-11. All camps have subsidies available. People can call the ministry’s office for more information.