Riverwood Food Bank fills need


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This article was published 09/12/2016 (2368 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Riverwood food bank and kitchen, located at The Garage, at 274 Talbot Ave., has served Elmwood for over 15 years.

According to community pastor Jon Courtney, its origins stretch back to when what is now the Riverwood Community Church was near Chief Peguis Trail. A local resident involved with the church ran a food and clothing bank in the area. When the church moved into Elmwood 17 years ago the food bank came with it.

It initially moved from location to location to serve different parts of Elmwood. The Garage (once a truck repair shop) was donated and became the food bank’s fixed location in 2005.

Herald LeeAnn Cheadle (left), a drop-in kitchen volunteer and Jon Courtney are pictured at the Riverwood food bank and drop-in.

The food bank and drop-in kitchen runs twice weekly, on Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons. Community members volunteer for the kitchen, which Courtney says creates a “communal experience.”

Food bank program manager LeeAnn Cheadle adds that it ensures a “welcoming” environment and levels the ground between the people picking up food and the people serving food.

On Wednesdays the drop in kitchen requests donations of $1 but not on Thursdays. People can sit down for cooked meals and later go to the food bank, as the two services run concurrently.

Because people phone Winnipeg Harvest (which delivers the food to this food bank) ahead of time for food packages, Courtney says food bank users can drop in, enjoy the meals and form community bonds rather than rush to be first in line for their preferred food items.

There are many community needs in Elmwood programs such as this can address, Courtney says. He says poverty, isolation, and a lack of support services affect the area. Cheadle adds that there’s also a lack of local childcare service.

Courtney says there are plans to expand the food bank and kitchen. One area they are looking at is “empowerment programming,” which involves teaching cooking skills and running healthy living workshops. Another part of expansion would be renovating what is a residential kitchen into a full commercial kitchen.

Courtney estimates that upgrading the kitchen will cost about $100,000. The program had sought $50,000 from the Aviva Community Fund, which awards funds to charities from across Canada based on online votes. Despite strong support in Elmwood, the Riverwood food bank and kitchen received too few votes across Canada to get Aviva funding.

The program is now pursuing other funding venues.

Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for Elmwood.

Dylon Martin

Dylon Martin
West Broadway community correspondent

Dylon Martin is a community correspondent for West Broadway.

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