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Bonnyville Friendship Centre issues urgent request for help

The Bonnyville Friendship Centre is facing a critical shortage and needs support now more than ever.

In a Facebook post, the Friendship Centre says many neighbors are going to bed hungry and struggling to meet the most basic needs but with help, they can make a difference.

“Every canned good, box of pasta, and jar of peanut butter you contribute can make a significant impact. Your donations provide vital nutrition to those who need it most.” 

The centre gave a list of food of what they need: 

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  • Chef Boyardee/Can Pasta 
  • Cookies and Crackers 
  • Juice Boxes 
  • Peanut free granola Bars 
  • Hamburger/Tuna Helper 
  • Canned Fruit & Fruit Cups 
  • Breakfast Cereal 
  • Coffee/Tea 
  • Instant Noodles 
  • Canned Meat, such as chicken, ham, tuna and turkey 
  • Jam 
  • Rice 
  • Shelf life milk/canned milk 
  • Pudding snacks for lunches 
  • Peanut Butter 

Among the many other programs, the Friendship Centre’s Friends for Lunch program is entering its most important time of year as the 6 schools partnering with the Friendship Center are starting up. 

Once a month the center gives the schools yogurt, sandwich materials, and another school friend snacks so kids who show up to school without a lunch can get something to eat. Cynthia Gamache Crisis Support worker says this time of year is always busy. 

“Especially the first week or the first month of school parents are getting back into the groove. They have just had to pay for school supplies and that can take out of grocery money so their kids have what they need at school.” 

Gamache also highlights the center is running a school supply drive and has had thirty families reach out for help getting their kids ready for the new year. 

When asked what will happen if the Friendship Center’s supply drops very low the Research Coordinator for The Bonnyville Friendship Centre Pauline Mawer says they will not be able to provide hampers like last week. 

“I have had clients call but I was almost down to nothing. Last week while I was making appointments I had to tell them, I didn’t have enough to fill a hamper can you come back next week? Some of them told me they didn’t have anything for the weekend. It is very concerning and stressful and I don’t like not being able to provide for our clients. 

Mawer says she is seeing more and more families, kids, and seniors. The Friendship Centre helps around 25 households a week but Mawer says the numbers would be much higher but are low because of the limited supplies. 

A trailer has been set up by the community to help gather donations for the food bank and is currently sitting outside Sobeys. Mawer says she is amazed by the community’s efforts to help each other. 

“I have lived in Bonnyville my whole life and found when there is need the community comes together.” 

Anyone who would like to donate, volunteer, or get more information can visit the Friendship Centre’s website here, call 780-826-3374, or send an email to [email protected]. 

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