Helping hands to feed the hungry

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Twice each year, the communities of Cochrane, Bragg Creek, Bearspaw, Redwood Meadows and Springbank come together to help support the Cochrane Food Bank with a food drive. Organized by the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area, the food drive collects non-perishable food items and other essentials for those in need.

This year’s fall food drive is happening Sept. 15, at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLS).

“We’ll start at 10 a.m. and we’re usually done by 1 p.m.,” said Sandra Scott, Helping Hands program manager. “All the work that we do in the food drive fills about 60 per cent of the all the hampers that they need for the year. That shows the growth of how many hampers are needed every year.”

Donations are being accepted at all the grocery stores in Cochrane leading up to the food drive. In Springbank, donations can be dropped off at the Springbank Park for all Seasons, the C3 Church, Springbank United Church, Edge School and Westlife Church.

Residents of Bragg Creek can deliver their donations to Bragg Creek Community Church, Banded Peak School and Bragg Creek Family Foods. In Redwood Meadows, donations will be accepted at Redwood House, and in Bearspaw, at the Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre.

Volunteers will also be going door-to-door in the various communities to collect donations the day of the food drive, according to Scott.

A total of 1,300 boxes of donated goods were collected during the spring food drive in April, she said.

“It was actually a record food drive for us,” Scott said. “It was a really wonderful event. I was really proud of the town of Cochrane and area.”

More than 750 volunteers turned up to help with the spring event, working both out in the communities and in the sorting centre.

The Helping Hands Society is a charitable non-profit organization with a strong volunteer base, according to Scott. The organization has been in existence since 2007, she added, when it also took over organizing the food drives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“We try to work with the existing resources in Cochrane and if there’s something that’s not being met within our community, we try to fill it,” she said.

Scott said some of the items she expects will be collected during the food drive Sept. 15 include canned fruit and vegetables, diapers, paper towels, rice and cereals.

The Cochrane Food Bank, operated by the Cochrane Activettes, provides a list of most-needed items on its website, cochraneactivettes.com/cochrane-food-bank

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