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Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre
202 Ave C South
Saskatoon, SK, S7M 1N2
Phone: (306) 664-6565

Building a Food Secure Community.

The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre has a vision of a food secure community, where all people have access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food. Through a variety of programs and services, the Food Bank offers learning, self-help and life skills support to address the underlying issues contributing to hunger and poverty in our community.
The staff at the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre gave us some insight into the many ways they are working to accomplish their vision. Read on to find out more about the impact of the Food Bank in our community, inspirational success stories, and upcoming events!
Most people probably think of food baskets when they think of the Food Bank. Tell us a bit about the Food Basket Program.
The Food Basket Program provides 2 to 3 days of emergency food for anyone in need in Saskatoon and area (a 50 km radius). A person can access a food basket once every 14 days. To access a food basket, we ask that you show the health cards for all family members as well as something to show you are a resident of Saskatoon and area – for example, a bill, letter or rent receipt. If someone does not have identification we will work together to accommodate their unique circumstances. We provide a nutritional assortment of food, with items from each of the food groups. We assist with dietary restrictions where possible.
Do the items in the food basket change seasonally?
As it warms up and people start planting gardens, we see a lot more fresh produce being donated. Also, produce from our Garden Patch Program is distributed in food baskets throughout the summer and into the fall. The Garden Patch is our community driven urban agriculture initiative that grows food on the 900 block of 3rd Ave North, in the heart of Saskatoon. Each year this 1.5 acre, vacant city-owned lot is transformed into a thriving garden and has produced over 75,000 lbs of produce over the past four years. We invite businesses, organizations and individuals to put together a team of committed green thumbs and adopt a few rows to tend over the summer.
What are your other most-utilized programs or services?
The Clothing Depot, located 223 Avenue B South, provides clothing, personal care items and other basic necessities for a nominal charge. Customers can shop at the Clothing Depot three times a week and purchase a large bag of clothes and three sundry items for $2.00. Some of the sundry items available are diapers, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, baby wipes, pet food, etc. No-cost counselling for low-income individuals is provided in partnership with Catholic Family Services. Our Volunteer Income Tax Program provides assistance for low-income individuals and families with simple tax situations. The Creating Opportunities Strategy offers a 15 week Workplace Literacy Program and a six-month Workplace Experience Program. We have a Community Kitchen, where the focus is on preparing nutritious, affordable food. Many of the foods used are those that would be typically offered in a food basket. Programs are targeted to people who might use the Food Bank, and focus on healthy lifestyles and diabetes prevention.
Do you see the same people utilizing your programs and services on a regular basis?
Everyone has their own story, and all of our stories are unique. We see people from all walks of life, because individuals who rely on the food bank are forced to do so for a variety of reasons. Some are struggling with job loss, others are caring for grandchildren unexpectedly, or a family member who is the sole financial provider becomes ill. Some individuals need to rely on the Food Bank for just one or two visits; others may need to access our Food Basket Program for a few months or longer. Many people are surprised to learn that we see university students, seniors, and working families.
Do you have a success story in mind that you are particularly encouraged by?
There are so many inspirational and encouraging stories to share. The following is a quote from a past participant in our Creating Opportunities Program: "I struggled for many months to try to find a job but no one would hire me because I had no experience, then I heard from a very good friend that I could get experience at the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. So I went and I wanted so much to get out in the world and make a living for me and my family. I needed a change and I no longer wanted to be on welfare – I wanted better for my family. So I got in this program called Creating Opportunities. Here I had the chance to grow so much by learning how to deal with customers and how to work as a team. I am now working and the job fits me and my family perfect. Because of the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre I am able to take care of my own family. This is such a great program; it changed my life so much. I am forever grateful to the kindness they showed and the chance of a lifetime they gave me".
Can you describe an outcome of your programs or services that you've witnessed that you didn't expect?
Throughout our programs and services we get to witness people coming together as a community. Each year we ask people to put together a team to adopt a plot at the Garden Patch. We had a team of newcomers one growing season who taught us the nutritional value of a couple of the weeds we were continuously pulling out. For them, these were foods that they traditionally used in meal preparation in their home countries.
What is your greatest need as an organization?
Donations of nutritious food, clothing, and household items are always welcome. Financial donations help us to run our programs and purchase food we don’t get donated.
Do your needs change seasonally?
During the cold winter months we put a call out for warm winter clothing for men, women and children including toques, mitts, jackets and boots in our Clothing Depot. We can also use skates and kids Christmas costumes for school events.
Do you receive a lot of support from local businesses?
We receive tremendous support from local businesses in the way of food, funds, and volunteers. We are continually inspired by the many companies that are rolling up their sleeves and getting involved. They are asking questions, and learning about hunger and poverty in our community, and finding ways to connect with our organization in a way that creates meaning in their own lives.
What are the ways a person in Saskatoon can help support The Food Bank?
People can contribute in a number of ways. They can donate funds, food, or clothing. They can volunteer their time during the work week, or out in the community at special events. Many groups and individuals come up with creative fundraisers, and we are always open to hearing ideas. Also, letting people in our community know about our programs and services will help people in need.
We ask everyone this question: What do you love about Saskatoon?
Saskatoon is such a generous city, full of amazing people who support others who are going through a rough period. During the holiday season, our Do Something Amazing campaign showcases people that “Do Something Amazing” using #amazingyxe. Anything from shovelling a neighbour’s walk to organizing a food drive or hosting a fundraiser, small actions lead to big changes. Each person in our community can contribute to meaningful change.
The Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre is working to meet some of the most basic and essential needs in our community. With a number of programs and service offerings, there are so many ways for individuals, families, and businesses to get involved. For more information about ways you can help the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre, call (306) 664-6565. If you’re interested in learning more about the Clothing Depot, please call (306) 244-1236.
As part of My Saskatoon’s One-to-One advertising campaign, this article is supported by local business Floorit.ca. You can read our interview Ryan Ginter of Floorit.ca using the link below.