Moosomin Food Share to build community fridge
Local non-profit granted $20,000 from FCC Initiative
November 15, 2023, 10:04 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
If you see Moosomin Food Share Manager Samantha Campbell around town with a huge smile, there’s a reason. Well, 20,000 reasons to be exact.
Recently, Campbell learned that the Moosomin Food Share is one of 86 groups across Canada that received a grant from the Farm Credit Canada AgriSpirit Fund. The grant of $20,000 will be used to establish a community refrigerator just outside of the Food Share and Thrift Store building.
“It’s a fridge located in a public space, a mutual aid project that enables food to be shared within the community,” Campbell explained, adding that the motto of community fridges is ‘take what you need, leave what you can.’
“Community fridges are a way to tackle food insecurity in our community,” she continued. “After having our numbers increase month over month, I heard about the Farm Credit grants and thought Regina has one, Saskatoon has a couple, why couldn’t we have one to help as many people out as possible in our community.”
The project - including the construction of a shed to protect from the elements - is anticipated to be completed this spring.
“Inside will be a fridge, an upright freezer and then shelving to act as a pantry where people can leave non-perishable food items,” Campbell said. “It’s open to everyone in the community and surrounding areas, it’s not just for the Food Share, it’s for everyone that needs a little help.”
Local donations also helped make this project a reality, with everything from construction to stocking the fridge with food due to the generosity of various organizations.
“We also want to give a huge thank you to the Moosomin Kinettes and the Nutrien mine,” said Campbell.
“They have already agreed to give us some money to stock the fridge for when it’s up and running. We will be able to make sure it’s fully sticked for opening day. It’s a great community, we cannot ask for anything more!”
AgriSpirit Fund has helped for 20 years
Over the past year, the AgriSpirit Fund received around 700 applications. With an annual budget of $1.5 million devoted to the fund, that meant 86 projects across Canada could be assisted with their requests. Part of what made the Moosomin ask stand out was how it aligned with some of FCC’s values.
“The community fridge is a fantastic initiative,” said Carla Warnyca, Manager of Community Investment at FCC. “One of the things that was particularly compelling for us was that it is in food security.”
Warnyca credited the Food Share on their application to the fund, praising the initiative.
“It sounds like they’re going to be doing a lot of good work in terms of not only feeding people, but reducing food waste,” she said.
The AgriSpirit Fund is marking it’s 20th year, having helped more than 1,600 community groups in that time.
“We’re pretty excited to be a part of that many projects over the years,” Warnyca said. “We’re really humbled, honestly, to be a part of those projects and part of the great work that is being done across the country.”
Each funding request ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 with the number of recipients obviously varying every year with the number of applications and the amounts requested.
The next application intake will be this coming spring, and Warnyca urges interested groups to visit the FCC AgriSpirit Fund website (fcc-fac.ca) for more details.
“It’s pretty special to see the impact thats happening in those communities,” she said.
Food banks needed more than ever
Usage of food programs continues to increase across the country with an estimated 20 per cent of Canadians accessing a food bank. The Moosomin Food Share has also felt that rise in the need for their services.
“We’re at 46 hampers. Within the last year or two, it’s about double our hampers,” Campbell noted.
While there are large fundraising drives during this time of year, she added that donations generally taper off after Christmas until the following October.
Campbell did point out that the donation bin at the Co-op Food Store has been helpful.
Some items the Food Share could really use in terms of donation include condiments (Cheez Whiz, syrup, spice, vinegar, etc.); baking ingredients such as flour and sugar; plus cleaning supplies, paper towel, toilet paper and facial tissue.
There are around 20 volunteers who actively work in the Thrift Store and two in the Food Share, plus Campbell noted high school student volunteers “have been a huge help.”
“We just want to say thank you to Farm Credit for allowing us to go forward with our project,” concluded Campbell. “If anyone would like to volunteer they can call, email, or stop in at our store.”