An incredible milestone this week for the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane & Area. 

April Baird, food security programs manager says they have successfully rescued over $1.5 million worth of recoverable food in Cochrane. 

"That number really stacks up quite quickly because it was only about four months ago that we talked about one million and now here we are at 1.5 million. That actually translates to just over 520,000 meals that the Free Food Sheds have been able to provide Cochrane since their existence." 

In just 2.5 years the non-profit group has saved more than 237,572 kg of potential food waste from the landfill.

The food rescue program has grown to include two grocery stores in town, Save-on-Foods and Safeway.

Baird says it all started when she noticed food waste while organizing food drives, prompting her to ensure that safe-to-consume food wasn't discarded.

"I started taking that food home and offering it for free from my front porch. I just collected it in Rubbermaid bins and that is actually how the whole Free Food Shed concept and Food Rescue Program with Helping Hands got started. It started from my front porch." 

The East shed opened in May 2021 at St. Andrew's United Church and the West shed opened in March 2022 at Bow Valley Baptist Church. 

"We're rescuing food. Perfectly good food that otherwise would have gone to the garbage and we're giving it for free to anyone who needs it. I think that's the message, the Free Food Sheds aren't about serving anybody in need, everybody needs food, period." 

Baird says all of this wouldn't be possible without the army of volunteers who come out everyday to help. 

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, CochraneNow encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the CochraneNow app.