Due to high usage and demand the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane and Area saw a need to add another shed to their program. At its core, the initiative is a community food exchange program that promotes food security while tackling food waste.
The need is consistent and persistent. The Shed is visited six to eight times per hour and that is a combination of residents needing to get some food, and those dropping off donations.
Helping Hands Society's April Baird says the demand for this service continues to grow. "The first location is so heavily overused that a completely full fridge and pantry will turn over to empty within a few hours, so that is hard to sustain the donations and filling it back up, so we felt we needed to spread it out."
With the help of students in the Building Futures program, Helping Hands were able to design and build a second shed located at Bow Valley Baptist Church which is now open and operating.
Baird continues this couldn't be done without the support of organizations in the community. "Our food rescue programs have also grown, we run food drives for the food bank and sometimes certain items are not accepted due to their policies and procedures, so we rescue weekly from the food bank and we rescue daily from grocery stores in town."
It's a simple solution to community hunger that residents can use 24 hours a day at any time with no judgement and no stigma to worry about.