Good news continues for Good Neighbours

A donation from Waldheim Mennonite Church. Photo Courtesy Carol Baldwin/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Wakaw Recorder

Carol Baldwin
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Wakaw Recorder

Good news has been coming in waves over the past week or so at the Rosthern Good Neighbours Food Centre.

With summer quickly approaching and school-supported snack and breakfast programs unavailable, the shelves at the Good Neighbours Food Centre need to be well stocked to meet the needs of families who reach out to the GNFC for assistance. With that in mind, Food Banks Canada provided GNFC, 900 snack packs for a national summer food supplement program called, After the Bell.

Each pack has child-friendly nutritious foods which include shelf-stable items such as tetra-packed milk, hummus, crackers, cereal, oatmeal, and sunflower seeds, and these are supplemented with perishable items such as apples, sugar snap peas, cheese, and yogurt. Each week all school-age children in the homes of families who come to GNFC for food aid will receive one of these snack packs.

A generous cash donation received from the Rosthern MCC Thrift Store, aka The Clothes Basket, will go a long way toward filling the shelves and the coolers, especially when it is combined with the donation received from the Waldheim Mennonite Brethren Church, which on May 27th hosted a “Pitchfork Fondue” with half of the proceeds earmarked for donation to GNFC.

Good Neighbours has arrangements with two grocery stores in Saskatoon, Michael’s Independent on 51st Street and Extra Foods in the Canarama Mall, to collect food that is still good and nutritious but is going to end up being thrown away for any number of reasons, however, they cannot always collect everything they need to put together hampers that provide multiple varieties of protein and/or vegetables for example. So, financial donations allow the GNFC to purchase staple items they may be running low on that have not been donated.

On Tuesday, June 13th Chris, Kaytee, and Rachel, owners of Floating Gardens Greenhouse near Osler, provided the Centre with an amazing donation of 1500 pounds of tomatoes and cucumbers to distribute in their weekly hampers. Floating Gardens utilizes hydroponics to grow produce in a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility year-round and have donated fresh produce to the Centre before. Donations of fresh produce are always welcomed. Even if they receive more than they can use in the weekly hampers, and there is a danger of it not lasting until the next week, the volunteers find ways to process it and turn it into something that will keep and can be distributed later.

In addition to the news of the wonderful donations, Good Neighbours Food Centre is also reaching out to youth during the month of July. They are hosting some free events for youth aged 12-18 weekly throughout the month and these events will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7 – 9:30 pm at the Centre. The first evening event was held on June 20th and was “Study Night & Snacks”. The titles for each evening event are fairly self-explanatory, with June 27th called “Campfire S’mores and Games”. July 4th is “Taco Tuesday” and participants are invited to bring their appetites and do some cooking. The theme for July 11th is “Everyone’s Birthday”, and the 18th “Minute to Win It” event is a games night. The theme for July 25th is “Selfcare Night” where youth will have the opportunity to learn more about what self-care is and why it’s important. Good Neighbours Food Centre is about more than just food.

There is always room for more volunteers so if there is a particular way you would like to volunteer contact the Good Neighbours Food Centre to find out more.