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Wood Buffalo Food Bank prepares for rebuild

Last Updated May 20, 2020 at 3:27 pm MDT

IMAGE. Supplied by Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association.

The Wood Buffalo Food Bank (WBFB) made significant adjustments as it recovers from the flood.

Communications and Development Manager, Anna Noble said the organization secured a temporary location at Golosky Landing in Gregoire.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Wood Buffalo Food Bank secures temporary space

She added the distribution centre out of Fort City Church is due to close as of May 25.

“Our operations are going well so far. In the first two weeks we served 1106 hampers, and roughly 1500 cases of water. As our temporary operations continue, we do expect these numbers to increase as more people become aware of our new location and as more people get back into their homes or temporary living situations while rebuilding.”

Noble said the WBFB will operate out of the Gregoire location over the next few months.

“It is an ever-evolving situation as we go along. We are also still dealing with the Covid-19 restrictions, so right now we are set-up as a quick pick-up system, and everything is pre-packaged.”

She also said they are only serving non-perishable items since refrigeration is not currently set up.

On May 4, she and her co-workers entered their downtown office to survey the damages from the flood.

Noble provided an update on the cleanup.

“Everything, including the subflooring, walls, etc., on the bottom floor has been gutted and is now an empty box; this included four offices, our kitchen, the warehouse area and the walk-in freezers and coolers. We lost all four of our Food Bank trucks, warehouse equipment, computers [and] printers, and a large quantity of food on the bottom floor of our main location and in our extra warehouse space down the alley.”

Noble said recovery will be a long process, but the WBFB appreciates the tremendous support of the community.

READ MORE: Sobeys and Safeway prepare and deliver more than $25K of food hampers to WBFB

Another online fundraiser lending its support is ‘Huskies Strong’.

Student-athletes with ties to Keyano College developed an online store selling merchandise with all proceeds going to the WBFB.

Volunteer Tyneille Neufeld said students are uncertain when they can return to the campus, but added they wanted to show their support.

“#FortMacStrong [has been] a positive reminder to the community of Fort Mac’s resilience after the fire, so us athletes wanted to create our own reminder of our strength, resilience, and tie to our community.”

She said despite the cost points of certain items, she hopes they will collect enough proceeds to support the WBFB.

Apparel has the logo ‘Huskies Strong’ with the words ‘#FortMacStrong’ printed underneath.

Neufeld said the online store will be available in three waves.

It will open from May 18 to June 1, June 3 to June 17, and again from June 19 to July 3.

The store sells men, women and youth apparel in various colours as well as toques and car decals.