The Cochrane Activettes have been helping Cochrane and area individuals and families in need since 1978.

The non-profit organization is made up of female volunteers in the community who are dedicated to making Cochrane and the surrounding area a better place for all residents.

2022 proved to be a challenging year for the service group with a spike in food prices, record-high-inflation and a decrease in food bank donations. 

But through those challenges the group was able to hand out a record 338 hampers as part of the annual Share Your Christmas campaign on Dec. 17.

That's up from the 2021 record when 309 hampers were distributed. 

Cochrane Activettes President, Marcia Gilbertson says the need for the services at the food bank has doubled and they're expecting that to continue to grow. 

"The donations that are down are primarily food. We've had to go out and purchase a lot of food. That's okay, we don't mind going out and spending money on food if that's what we need, but kind of the measurement that we get from people that have always donated food, like the bins have always been full by a certain day, that has really fallen off."

Gilbertson is extending a massive thank you to all of the volunteers who step up to help out every time they need it. She says they're fortunate to have so many community members to rely on but there's always room for more help. 

"Our age group is one that likes to get up and travel and we've been grounded for the last few years so we're seeing more people who are getting away in the winter, so I would anticipate that we'll be asking for more regular volunteers."

If you are interested in volunteering some of your time with them you can go to their website.

Coming up in 2023, the volunteers will see the food bank physically grow in size. 

The renovation will give them more space to prepare meals for the school lunch program and it'll offer more storage. 

"We're doing a bit of an expansion in our food bank, we're putting a mezzanine in bay 6, so that's going to have its challenges trying to stay operational and having that construction going on at the same time." explains Gilbertson.

The renovation work is set to begin in the next few weeks. 

The service club will be celebrating its 45th year in 2023 and Gilbertson says they plan to celebrate the milestone.