‘This is huge for us:’ Cosmo club provides boost to food bank during pandemic

(From left to right) Talon Halsall and Kim Scruby of the Prince Albert Food Bank and Doug Gent of the Prince Albert Cosmopolitan Club pose for a cheque presentation on May 8, 2020. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

The Prince Albert Food Bank has $3,000 more in its bank account thanks to a donation from the city’s cosmopolitan club.

The money will go a long way in helping people struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, even if the food bank’s methods of helping look a little different than they used to.

“This is huge for us,” said Kim Scruby, the Prince Albert Food Bank’s executive director.

He explained that the food bank has had to switch gears with many stuck in their homes in self-isolation.

“With CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) and a lot of the federal payments that have come out, we’re actually seeing maybe fewer people come by, but we’re actually busier working with other community agencies providing food for delivery to people that are shut in,” he said.

“We’ve had to pretty much re-think how we do everything.”

Scruby said the food bank hasn’t had to amp up its online presence too much to let people know help is still available, but a lot of its community partners have.

Doug Gent—who’s set to be the president of the Prince Albert Cosmopolitan Club next year—said the club has saved up some money from the pandemic, primarily due to a lack of travel costs.

Because of the government’s gathering restrictions, most of the club’s events this year have been cancelled. Its weekly meetings, too, have had to switch from in-person to video calls.

“Somebody said well we’ve still got our charitable accounts, what can we do with it? One of the gentleman just piped up right off the bat and he said ‘I think we should be supporting the Prince Albert Food Bank,’ and it took like five seconds and our board acknowledged that, at this time, was an excellent option,” said Gent.

“There’s a need year round for the food bank, but with so many people being laid off and everything, if we can help, great.”

The cosmopolitan club’s major fundraiser, the football pool, is also in limbo depending on if the CFL season will even occur.

“With that particular (fundraiser), we’ve been able to do donations like this to the food bank, the Victoria Hospital and the Rose Garden Hospice and many other organizations.”

The Prince Albert Cosmopolitan Club supports many requests for help, both physically and financially. One of its major contributions across Canada is donating to diabetes research.

Last month, Premier Scott Moe donated his cost of living increase to Mobile Crisis and the Prince Albert Food Bank.

During a news conference, Moe said he’ll continue to support organizations that have had an impact on him and his family. He encouraged other MLAs and cabinet members to do the same.

“The donation was significant—we’re grateful for it,” said Scruby, adding “it was a nice surprise” because he found out through the media.

“He said he’d do it, and he did it. He’s supporting the community, so we’re pretty happy about that.”

According to its website, the Prince Albert Food Bank gives out an average of 1,000 hampers a month—each containing a three-day supply of food depending on inventory. Half of its clients are children.