FOOD BANK JOURNAL: Yellowknifers step up when called

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The YK Food Bank exists because we have a desperate need in our community. Every month, hundreds of single adults and families look to us to supplement their grocery budgets, and the numbers are increasing.

Cherish Winsor is president of the YK Food Bank.

Last month, I volunteered to give out food during one of our distributions. Despite preparing more baskets than we normally would, we ran out after less than two hours. This doesn’t usually happen but that day we had 12 new families and the line up went out of the door.

The problem became bigger when I realized that the shelves in our warehouse were empty and we had little more than cans of cranberry sauce and rice to give to anyone that came looking for help.

Yellowknife is a unique place. Over and over, whenever there’s a need, Yellowknifers step up. I personally saw it last October after the fire that destroyed Rockhill that left dozens of families without a home and the YWCA without an operating office. Just like then, when this community learned of our need, the outpouring of support for the YK Food Bank was swift and generous.

The empty shelves that could have resulted in hungry people with few other places to turn for help, instead created a community-wide mission to fill them back up.

So much so that we’ve had trouble keeping up with all of the emails, phone calls and messages. Schools, businesses, church groups and recreational event organizers all held food drives. GNWT departments competed with each other to fill up offices and boardrooms. Grocery stores reached out and held their own contests and food drives. Businesses and individuals wrote cheques and one little girl even collected food instead of presents for her birthday. The support truly was and continues to be incredible. For this I extend my gratitude to the people of this community on behalf of all of us at the YK Food Bank.

Our shelves are full and we have a little extra breathing room going into the summer, a time when we usually have to cut down on the frequency of distributions. But given the recent trend of increased need and new clients, the food will likely run out before the big food drives start again in the fall. So, while the immediate need is less, please remember to drop an extra can in the donation bins when you’re out shopping or add a few coins to the collection boxes around town.

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