Six months after opening Cochrane’s first Free Food Shed, The Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area is in the beginning stages of opening another.
Helping Hand’s Executive Director, Chairra Nicolle says the success of the St. Andrew's United Church location spotlights the need in Cochrane. “The first Food Shed is so successful and so busy. We're seeing things turnover within 20 minutes to an hour, but we're also seeing a lot of people donating and starting to really rally in the community to stop by and donate.”
“We put in a grant request to the Bow River's Edge Campground back in August to request funds for a second Free Food Shed and they granted that to us just recently.”
With funding secured, Helping Hands was able to also lock in the new location. “The second one is going to be at the Bow Valley Baptist Church. They have offered space there and electricity so they will be the host site for the second one.“
“We'll have one on the west and one on the east side now.”
Just like the first shed, high school students from the Building Futures program will be building the structure with support from Kingsmith Builders and Big Hill Electrical.
Nicolle says that after monitoring the first location for half a year, they plan to make small changes for the new addition. “The second one is actually not going to have a freezer section as we see that the freezer never is quite full over at the St. Andrews Free Food Shed.”
“We have decided that in the new one, we're just going to have a domestic fridge and freezer so there's still access for freezer items, but not a huge amount of freezer space. That way there's no additional electricity being wasted.”
“If we do see that one’s full and one's not, we'll just shuffle food back and forth between the two”
While the second Free Food Shed is still in the early stages, Nicolle hopes the program continues to grow in Cochrane.
“I mean, the big dream would absolutely be to have one in every quadrant or even every community so that there's easy access to anybody who needs food."
“In the meantime, we're making sure that it's an easily accessible location close to a COLT stop or walking distance for most individuals.”
The most popular items that go quick at the St.Andrew’s Free Food Shed include produce and dairy products such as cheese, milk, and vegan alternatives.