The Wheatland County Food Bank has received a $10,000 donation, as well as nearly 2,700 pounds of food as a result of the Calgary Co-op Fill Your Boots campaign.
The annual campaign is run through the entire Calgary Co-op association, with each store location raising money through the sale of food bags for its local food bank.
This year, the Strathmore location came in third among participating stores for most bags sold, generating $5,000 in donations. The sum was then matched by the community foundation.
Executive Director of the Wheatland County Food Bank, Lynette Aschenbrenner, said the donation was the largest the food bank has ever received through the campaign.
“It’s a huge impact – it allows us to buy more fresh stuff for our hampers and it just keeps us going all the way throughout the year,” she said. “People are more aware of the need right now, so I think that’s why it was so big.”
Aschenbrenner added COVID-19 has only highlighted the necessity of the organization, and reliance on the food bank is never something that will cease entirely.
“We’ve been steadily getting busier all through the pandemic. The need is still there – it will never go away, it’s always there, and that’s why we’re here,” she said. “It is very necessary … our numbers keep going up, so the support is very much appreciated.”
She also explained September becomes a particularly tough month for many families, with the added expenses that come with back-to-school shopping.
Lila Reynolds, the front-end manager for the Strathmore Co-op, said she was extremely pleased with the results from the Strathmore location.
“Two of the biggest stores were the ones that beat us, so we were very happy with the way that the community got behind us in raising money,” she said. “All of the money that the Fill Your Boots campaign raised in our store stayed in the Strathmore Food Bank.”
Reynolds agreed that the end results was a first for the Strathmore location to have donated such a quantity to the food bank through the Fill Your Boots Campaign.
“We were thrilled by the number of people that didn’t hesitate [to donate],” she said.
A total of 23 stores participated in the campaign in and around the Calgary area, according to Reynolds.
The campaign was operated simultaneously with the Calgary Stampede, and the donations were distributed last week.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times