March 13, 2019 (Fort McMurray, Alberta) Due to a loss in financial support, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank (WBFB) has suspended their Basic Shelf and Financial Literacy Program until a new funding source is secured.
In February recommendations were brought to council by Homelessness Initiative Strategic Committee (HISC) for the disbursement of federal funding for fighting homelessness. It was noted that there was a reduction in funding and some programs were cut. One of these cuts directly affected the WBFB’s Basic Shelf Program, which will receive no funding for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The Basic Shelf Program, which partners closely with the Housing First Program, is a series of workshops combining nutrition, cooking, shopping, and basic financial literacy. The program is in response to the fact that intermittent food insecurity, resulting from poverty, mental/physical health issues, addictions, and lack of knowledge or skills can present real challenges for clients. The program is based on an asset-building approach to poverty reduction and assists individuals living on low-incomes to increase their assets and their ability to actively engage in the economy. To graduate the minimum of 50 students per year, the program costs an average of $100,000 to run. This program has successfully graduated more than this for the past three years.
“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,” says Executive Director Dan Edwards, “but it still came as a bit of a shock, and puts us in a tough position in trying to continue to run this program.” The WBFB often hears many success stories from clients who have taken the program, and it sad to have to put the program on pause for the time being.
The WBFB is actively seeking out alternative funding opportunities to be able to keep the Basic Shelf Program running in the future, but it may take some time. “With the current economic state, it is getting increasingly difficult to find sustainable and long-lasting financial support,” Edwards continues. “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.”
About the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association
Established in 1983, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association delivers programs and services that provide the resources and education necessary to ensure food security for all citizens in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. For more information, visit www.woodbuffalofoodbank.com
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association
Tel: 780-743-1125 ext.229