The Bonnyville Friendship Centre’s fortunes continue to reverse for the better as Cenovus has announced that they have made a twenty thousand dollar donation.
The funds will be split in half, with 10 thousand going to the Community Kitchen Program and another ten thousand going to the food bank. Executive Assistant Ashley Gaulton says the donation will be able to keep the community kitchen running until the spring of 2018, even if they don’t receive any other funding. She believes the food bank will be able to get through the winter months on the strength of the donation as well.
“It was brought to my attention that you could apply for a grant from Cenvous’s website…” Gaulton says. “So I applied online last year and they called us and they gave us ten thousand dollars instead of the five thousand I was applying for, because they wanted to fully sponsor our kitchen. Then they contacted us back in June for an update and they wanted to see how we were doing, if the money helped, if there was more they could do. So I gave them all the stats, how they had done so much for the community with our kitchen. Then I let them know where we were struggling the most with was our food bank. So they contacted our Executive Director Lauri [Fitzpatrick] the next day to talk about it and they decided that they were going to give us twenty thousand dollars.”
Needless to say, Gaulton was surprised by this news. “I was anticipating that perhaps they would help us with the food drive. When they asked about how our programs were running with the ten thousand they already gave us, I wanted to ensure that we gave them all the information they needed to feel like the support that they had already given us was doing everything that it could. So when they told us that they were giving us twenty thousand dollars I was like “Wow I can’t believe that!” They’ve been so generous and helpful to us.”
A press release from Cenovus says that in June of 2015, the Food Bank helped 114 clients. In June of this year they served 242 with 56 of those being new clients. The Community Kitchen serves 30 people per day including high school students and seniors.
“We are very thankful to Cenovus Energy for their continued support to the Friendship Centre,” says Executive Director Lauri Fitzpatrick. “Their donation helps us provide much need services to community members.”