A Hay River grocery store is making change-weighted pockets of Hay Riverites feel a little lighter – voluntarily, of course.And, it’s all to help the Hay River Soup Kitchen.
Super A started a round-up program to raise funds for charities last year. Under its corporate umbrella, the store raised $3,000 for Edmonton’s Ronald McDonald House, a place for families to stay when a relative is in hospital in the Alberta capital.
While Ronald McDonald House is used by some families from Hay River, Super A manager Steve Anderson said it was decided to ask if money could be raised and donated to a local charity, instead.
“We thought this year we’d give to a local charity and give them a chance to become more visible in the community,” said Anderson.
Soup Kitchen president Laura Rose was grateful to hear Super A would be lending a hand.
“We’re always operating month by month and often hanging on by a thumb and two fingers,” Rose said. “It’s a slow process, but we somehow manage to scrape things together.”
The Soup Kitchen is open for three lunch meals per week and, as of a month ago, began its food hamper service again, in a very limited capacity. With all bills, it costs around $3,000 to run the Soup Kitchen every month.
As of Aug. 21, the roundup program at Super A has raised $500 for the Soup Kitchen and Anderson said the goal is $3,000. The program began on Aug. 14 and is being advertised in a flyer until the end of the month, but will most likely be extended until Sept. 30.
Customers can donate more than the roundup amount if they choose. The store is also looking at holding another roundup fundraising event at Christmas.
Rose is also working to get a food recycling program off the ground. The program would take usable food past its best-before date that is still safe to include in meals to serve at the kitchen. So far, she is receiving substantial donations of bread, meat and other perishables from North-Mart and Ehdah Cho Store on the Hay River Reserve, but needs more storage for the program to be successful.
Anderson said Super A would also entertain the idea of donating food past its best-before date in light of new legislation protecting donors.
“A lot of the food is still good,” he said. “We don’t have that much, but it’s better to provide it to someone than chuck it in the garbage.”
— Angele Cano