Hauling 26,400 pounds of meat out of the back of a trailer, Prince Albert Share-A-Meal Food Bank staff had their work cut out for them on Thursday afternoon.
© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Prince Albert Share-A-Meal Food Bank co-manager Wes Clark is seen with one of the 1,500 cases of smokie hotdogs that Maple Leaf donated this week.
After more than three hours, the 1,500 cases of stadium-size smokie hotdogs, worth roughly $38,000, had filled both of their freezers and coolers, providing the city’s less fortunate with good eats for months.
“This was a huge donation,” food bank co-manager Wes Clark said, still exhausted from his role in hauling the load into their facility.
“It enables us to give actual meat into the hampers, rather than canned tuna or stuff that we end up buying, so that’s huge to us.”
The massive donation came from Maple Leaf’s Saskatoon headquarters, where director of operations James Mailand said there was a surplus of inventory.
“We couldn’t think of a better thing to do than donate a bunch of sausages and kind of keep the last little remainder of that summer sizzle going,” he said by phone.
“Most importantly, we’re giving back to a worthy cause and to people who can absolutely use it.”
Clark said that while this isn’t the first time Maple Leaf has helped the food bank, it is by far their largest contribution.
Although the hotdogs stored in their freezers will last indefinitely, the boxes they’ve loaded into their coolers have an October expiry date, meaning various other organizations in the area that assist the less fortunate are set to benefit, Clark said, citing various churches, the YWCA and Salvation Army as some potential recipients.
It’s been a good year for the food bank, Clark said, noting that Maple Leaf’s donation has joined a $25,000 donation from the Northern Lights Community Development Corporation in boosting their food supply.
This was a huge donation! Wes Clark, food bank co-manager
The financial donation, from the non-profit arm of the Northern Lights Casino, will help pay for fresh vegetables once the garden season ends, Clark said.
Another reason for calling this year’s food bank season a good one has been the number of people helped, Clark said, noting that they’ve averaged about 2,000 meals served per month at their share-a-meal program, which takes place every weekday.
They’ve also managed to hand out between 400 and 600 food hampers per month, which provide recipients with about three days’ worth of food in emergency situations.
“In the summer, everything picks up,” Clark said, noting that they’re in the midst of their busiest season.
Through this busy season, despite help from the likes of Maple Leaf, the Northern Lights Casino and other donors, the food bank has fallen behind on a number of items, with some of their shelves currently bare.
Canned goods, such as vegetables, meats and fruit, as well as pasta, rice, oatmeal and cereal could all use replenishing, Clark said.
The best time for people to make donations to their facility, located at 64 11th St. E., is during weekday afternoons, Clark said.
They’re also seeking volunteers for their annual food drive, set for Oct. 19.
The food bank has also been named a beneficiary of the upcoming Gift of Mercy Fun Run that the Prince Albert Alliance Church is hosting on Sept. 7 at 9 a.m.