The Group Meals Field Program is increasing to serve Edmonton individuals in want – Edmonton

Edmontonian Quinn Wade saw a growing need for food aid in the city and came up with a creative solution: a grocery basket for the community.

It works much like a small free library, except that it is used for eating instead of books.

“People come and can put food in and others who need it can take food with them,” Wade explained.

Wade’s drag family Lovegoods turned a battered old recycling box into the first Lovegood Food Exchange Box at the end of April.

They placed it in Paul Kane Park at 103 Avenue and 121 Street.

“If I need food and have to use the blackboard, it’s different,” thought Wade.

“Then COVID (-19) came up and everyone was virtually unemployed, so that need would be even greater.”

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So far, more than 7,000 items have gone through the box, including canned goods, fresh fruit, pasta, muesli and mineral water.

Sometimes thanks are left in the box.

“People came by and said, ‘You fed us for two months, you kind of kept us going,'” Wade said.

Based on the popularity of the original packaging, an additional 15 are now being manufactured for other endangered communities in Edmonton.

“I think our priority is to get these grocery boxes into really much needed grocery areas. So Alberta Avenue, we want an in – and Abbotsfield, ”said Renee Vaugeois, executive director of the John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights.

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Vaugeois helps ensure that the boxes are not empty.

“Pick up food here at the blackboard and help support these swap boxes to make sure they have supplies at times to make sure people have access,” she said as she loaded her van with food.

Vaugeois says she likes that the Lovegood boxes have no barriers to use – no identification, no forms to fill out, and no waiting.

“It’s a really good place for people to access food with dignity, but also for people who can provide and give it,” she said. “School supplies were also put in there, masks were put in, and it has become this small community center.

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“Sometimes when people need food, it’s not three or four days, it’s now. They give people really immediate access to food. “

However, she is concerned that the demand for such supports may soon increase.

“It’s back to school, but I think we’re also worried that CERB will end, the benefits end – the demand for food will increase.”

READ MORE: Edmonton women raise nearly $ 20,000 for charity by sewing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic

Vaugeois and Wade hope that the expansion of the Lovegood boxes will help, but they also need more volunteers or “box guards”.

“What it requires is to check the box twice a day, to thoroughly disinfect the box – to make sure it is good and clean, to make sure that there is nothing unnecessary or undesirable, and only to monitor supply and inventory” said Vaugeois.

Anyone wishing to participate is encouraged to send an email to [email protected]

And when people want to donate, says Wade, it’s very easy.

“Just come on, put the food in and it’s just completely anonymous.”

The boxes have been a source of hope for Wade through the pandemic.

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“Some days I feel really down and I come here and it lifts my spirits when I see there is food in the box and people are using it.”

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