Campbell tells council food share usage way up

Moosomin Food Share has gone from 18 to 43 food hampers in less than a year; Food Share plans new Community Fridge

September 25, 2023, 2:55 pm
Kevin Weedmark

Volunteers helping at the Moosomin Food Share.

Samantha Campbell of the Moosomin Food Share told Moosomin town council at their last meeting that the Food Share is seeing a lot more demand over the last few months, and is looking to set up a Community Fridge where people can leave food for those in need.

“I can’t release publicly who gave us this but I did receive a grant for $20,000 to put a Community Fridge here in Moosomin,” Campbell told council members.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with community fridges—they do have them in the city. Basically it’s a shed that is insulated and shingled, that has a fridge, a freezer and some pantry space. Basically it’s for if you have extra zucchini, you put it in the fridge and if someone is in need of that zucchini, they can go and grab that zucchini out of the fridge.

“My reasoning for this is that at the food share we used to do 18 hampers a month and we’re up to 43 a month.

“It has way more than doubled in a few months. So this is a way to help relieve people during trying times that need a little extra help. It’s a community thing, so everyone can access it with no obligations whatsoever. I was planning on putting it behind our building—we have the room. But because it’s a community fridge I wanted to double check with the town.

“The shed will contain a fridge, freezer and shelving, so if you had something like canned tomatoes you could put it in there.”

Council members told Campbell that as long as the shed is 100 square feet or smaller, it will not require a building permit.

She said the Food Share is planning to add a shed for the Community Fridge because the building is out of space.

“We use the back storage area for our extra seasonal stuff. Honestly we were considering buying the liquor store building because they thought we’d never fill our space and now it’s beyond full. It’s not big enough for what we can hold.”

One benefit of the Community Fridge, Campbell said, is that people can simply access the fridge without going through the food bank, saying she believes some people would rather remain completely anonymous if they need to access food assistance.

“They’re really popular in the city. I’ve talked to people who have used and dropped off stuff.”

Campbell said everything for the shed will be purchased as locally as possible.

“Everything is being bought locally. We bought Co-op lumber, Jeannot will do the electrical, and the appliances are being bought at Zaylie’s.

“My question is if you guys are ok with it being back there and can I count on you guys to remove the snow so it’s accessible?”

Increased demand
Campbell told council the increased demand for the food bank developed very quickly this year. “There’s a reason and it’s that people are struggling.

“From February to now we’ve gone from 18 hampers to 43. It has skyrocketed.”

“When I was there at the barbecue I got a tour of the building and what you have. Are you keeping up with the stock?” Councillor Murray Gray asked.

“There was a pretty decent stock there at the time.”

“No,” said Campbell. “November and December is our usual busy time of people donating but we have not had any food drives lately come in and we’ve been buying all of the groceries. People are not donating because times are tough and they need it to buy their own groceries.

“We’re okay so far. Before we could give out a little bit extra, but now we’re slowly putting back what’s going in the cupboards. I like to do the fresh produce and fresh vegetables, things like that, because I don’t think cookies and stuff are as essential. So we’re buying fresh produce and vegetables. It quickly adds up, especially when you’re at 43 hampers. Then we also have the backpack program for kids.”

Campbell was asked what the cost of the hampers is each month.

“We’re doing 43 hampers and one hamper would probably be about $300.

“They get bread, milk, eggs and every month they get a bin with a few cans of soup, a box of cereal or pancakes and syrup, beans, pasta, pasta sauce, a dessert, juice, coffee or tea. Then you get two meats that are frozen, so chicken or beef or something, you get canned tuna or ham. Or you’ll get perogies and sausage one month—we try to give them meals. Then you have frozen vegetables and all of that.”

Council told Campbell the town will do whatever they can to help with the Community Fridge project.