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Cuts force Food Bank to put successful program on pause

Last Updated Mar 14, 2019 at 2:14 pm MDT

Due to government cuts in funding, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association is unable to run their successful Basic Shelf Program this year. The program graduates more than 50 students per year, taking them from low-income situations and molding them into active contributors in Wood Buffalo. Image supplied by the Food Bank.

The Food Bank cut its successful Basic Shelf Program this year, because of financial constraints.

Cuts in government funding in the fight against homelessness contributed to the Food Bank making the tough decision.

Executive director Dan Edwards says the decision came as a bit of a shock.

“We understand that these cuts are coming from a higher source, leading to difficult decisions by council on approving the recommendations for the spread of the remaining allocated funds.”

The cost to run the Basic Shelf Program amounts to $100,000 per year.

What is the Basic Shelf Program?

The Basic Shelf Program accepts residents in low-income situations and teaches cooking, shopping, and financial literacy.

Edwards says the Food Bank often hears success stories from graduates of the program.

They could be a co-worker, neighbour or friend dialled into the community as active contributors.

For the past three years, the Basic Shelf Program produces well above the required 50 graduates per year.

Unfortunately, no funding for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and more people coming to the Food Bank and other social profits for assistance, means making hard decisions like these.

“With the current economic state, it is getting increasingly difficult to find sustainable and long-lasting financial support. The community isn’t in the same position as we were a few years ago, and everyone is seeking support from the same sources of funding which are becoming depleted.”

The Food Bank will search for other long-term funding sources.