Helping Hands ready for spring food drive

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Western Rocky View County residents are encouraged to participate in the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area’s annual spring food drive, which will be held April 21. According to Sandra Scott, administrative assistant with Helping Hands, the food drive has been running since 2007 in support of the food bank program operated by the Cochrane Activettes.

“We do this twice a year, and all the food we collect usually supports the making of the hampers – about 60 per cent of the hamper food comes from doing these food drives,” she said.

“It’s really important to do well so we can continue to support that program.”

Food insecurity remains an ongoing problem in Cochrane, Scott said, as well as throughout Rocky View County and the rest of Canada. For younger families or those who are limited economically, she said, there often isn’t money left after paying for rent, utilities and other expenses.

“If you’re not getting enough food, you can’t work to the best of your ability or learn to the best of your ability, and it creates a circle of insecurity that people can’t get out of,” she said. “Providing food is a really great way to help people help themselves.”

Each year, though, Scott said the community steps up. Not only does the food drive result in an abundance of food to stock the shelves at the Activettes’ food bank, it also brings out large numbers of enthusiastic volunteers who come back to participate in the event year after year.

“We have almost 600 volunteers who will be driving around our various neighbourhoods – we will hit every house in Cochrane, every house in Bragg Creek, and every house in Redwood Meadows,” she said. “For folks who live in Springbank and Bearspaw, we will have drop-off spots set up.”

Donations can be delivered to bins at Springbank Park For All Seasons, Springbank United Church, Redwood House, Bragg Creek Foods, Banded Peak School, Edge School, Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre and RockPointe Church. Additional volunteers who are willing to collect the donations from their own neighbourhoods can contact Helping Hands at fooddrive@helpinghandscochrane.ca or at 587-580-9448.

Residents are also encouraged to leave their donations on the front step, Scott added. The bag or box should be put out before 10 a.m. and will be picked up before noon.

“About 30 per cent of the population puts their food on the doorstep that morning,” she said. “We do knock on doors to ask if people have a donation, but we would love to see that percentage go up.”

Helping Hands has already scheduled its fall food drive, Scott said, which is planned for Sept. 15.

“The biggest thing we want people to know about our food drives is that this food is for people in Cochrane,” she said. “The food we collect at this drive is what supports them in their own community.”

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