Rising inflation rates have put the people at Helping Hands Cochrane and their free food shed initiative in a peculiar position.

Helping Hands free food sheds are designed to help feed the less fortunate, and minimize food waste in the community, and are mostly upkept via donations from throughout the community.

The rising prices of food create a greater need for the shed, while it also means that fewer people are able to give at the same time says Executive Director with Helping Hands Cochrane Chairra Nicole.

"We are seeing both sheds clear out within an hour or two every day. Anytime there's something that's brought in, it's gone right away, we are seeing a decrease in donations which we anticipate is coming from inflation and people just not being able to give. That was also correlated with our food drives that we had in the spring. A lot of individuals were saying it, you know, I, just barely have enough to feed my family, it's difficult to feed them, I just don't have anything to share right now."

The rise in Inflation is compounded by the fact that kids who are out of school need to be fed more says, Nicole.

"We don't necessarily see the minors themselves using it, but we do see parents. Bringing their children down there to find snacks and just to be able to feed them knowing that most of the schools have a breakfast program and a lunch program that is significantly used in the community."

Now that kids are out of school, "They don't have access to that breakfast and lunch programs, that the schools put on, and are funded for by the food banks. So getting those foods to our youth is really important right now. So, that's why on our list there's a lot of children's snacks and breakfast items so that they're at least well-nourished while they're out of school." Says Nicole

The list that Nicole is referring to is the Amazon wishlist that the group put out to help families in need stay fed.

"We started the Amazon wishlist, hoping that someone can pick just those little items off of there and help us stock the shed without having to go to the grocery store or going and spending a whole bunch just to stock the shed on their own, which we were seeing in the past. The families would go and do a whole big grocery shop for the shed, but understanding that now it's not necessarily affordable for all."

While Nicole understands that times are trying right now for a lot of families, she asks that if you are able to please give what you can.

"We don't want anyone in the community to go hungry, so please donate items as much as you can. If you're heading out camping and you're not going to use up that produce that's in the fridge. Please take it to the shed on your way out of town so that someone else can use it instead of it ending up in the garbage because a little goes a long way right now for families who are in need of food."

The free food sheds in Cochrane are located at St. Andrews church on the east side of Cochrane, and on the west side at the Bow Valley Baptist Church.

If you are interested in supporting the free food shed and Helping Hands Cochrane check out their Amazon wishlist, or if you are interested in volunteering, check out the Helping Hands Cochrane website.