Feeding Wood Buffalo.
Providing Wood Buffalo with education and tools to access safe and nutritious food.
Since 1983, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank (WBFB) has been on the front line of the community’s efforts to deal with the consequences of hunger. The WBFB has been one of the first agencies to see evidence of a community in distress because of economic downturns and natural disasters.
Its efforts to undertake this task have evolved in many ways since the Fort McMurray Food Bank Association (as it was originally known as) was founded in December, 1983. A warehouse in Gregoire has been replaced by a downtown facility with a kitchen for educational programs. Beginning as a volunteer organization, it now has the benefit of a core group of permanent staff which can deal with the needs of individuals, provide educational programs, communicate the WBFB mission to the community, maximize the collections of food and other supplies and bring its services to the wider community beyond Fort McMurray.
Programs to address hunger have expanded beyond food hampers to include Basic Shelf, Snack Attack, Mobile Pantry Program, Slow cooker, Gro For Good and the Community well being programs. The need for its services has varied as has the ability and willingness of the community to support it through food and cash donations. The cause of food insecurity has also expanded to include natural disasters the most spectacular example being the 2016 fire, and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 flood.
While many changes have occurred, it has been a constant struggle to maintain the supply of food and other items for distribution. With the food bank in operation year around, it has to meet its needs for supplies before and after the Christmas season when the community has a heightened sense of the needs of others.
The WBFB has a full complement of very pro-active Board members; a significant number of this leadership has recently turned over, making good board recruitment and succession mentoring a priority.
The WBFB has a solid team structure, which are qualified and capable of providing high quality service to our community. We have updated our record keeping systems to reflect current needs for planning, accountability, and transparency.
As a result of competent staff, enhanced credibility, and improved stakeholder relationships we have stabilized our cash flow requirements. Additionally new funding sources have been identified and secured to enable increased delivery of programs and services.
We continue to provide a core service of monthly food hampers to those meeting qualification criteria. A lot of agency effort goes towards food drives and other fundraising in order to maintain sufficient inventory. Service efforts have been increased to include new programs as outlined herein after in this document. The WBFB hosts the Mobile Pantry Program that delivers to rural communities within the RMWB (Janvier, Conklin, Anzac, Fort McMurray First Nation, and Fort McKay) and are currently running the long-awaited pilot program delivering hampers to Fort Chipewyan. The WBFB also hosts two cooking programs, teaching students how to eat, shop, and cook on a budget while focusing on financial stability. These programs are the Slow Cooker Program, and the Basic Shelf & Financial Literacy program (currently on hold due to Covid-19 and flood damage.).
The WBFB continues to hold memberships in: Alberta Food Bank Network Association, Food Banks Canada, The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, Non-Profit Sector Link, etc.