Ste. Rose du Lac in support of the less fortunate
In operation since July 2012, the Ste. Rose du Lac food bank continues to make a difference for less affluent families in the region, while also rallying the community around a worthy cause.
Angele Delaurier, the bank’s first volunteer coordinator, remembers the early days in 2012. “I was part of a support group, and someone asked if there was a food bank here for a family who was having trouble putting food on the table at the end of the month. The closest one at the time was in Dauphin, more than 30 minutes away by car.”
“Louise Debeuckelaere, the founder of the Ste. Rose du Lac food bank, took the request to heart. She contacted Winnipeg Harvest, as well as organizations and people in the community, and six months later, in July, we made our first distribution.”
Delaurier, who was then a mission facilitator at the Ste. Rose General Hospital, immediately joined the project, along with Dalbert Hudson and his wife, Sylvia. All are still involved today.
Delaurier convinced the hospital to provide the four volunteers with one of its old ambulance garages, which continues to house the food bank every month. The community also donated tables and coolers, as well as money and food from local gardens.
“At our first distribution, we served 10 families in need. Louise had phoned the families inviting them to come. By the fall, we were up to about 20 families. For the past two or three years, every third Friday of the month, we’ve been serving about 50 families in the region, including Ste. Rose, Ocher River, Laurier, Ste. Amélie and Rorketon.”
The volunteer coordinator adds that if families can’t get to the food bank on the third Friday of the month, arrangements can be made to come at another time. Similarly, in case of urgent need, “we always have some food baskets available between monthly distributions”. Each year, more than 31,500 lbs of food are distributed at the Ste. Rose du Lac food bank.
In almost seven years of existence, the Ste. Rose du Lac food bank has made a big difference in the lives of many families, as well as in the community as a whole.
“I remember a family with two young children. The first few times, they were scared and seemed weak, fragile. But the more they came, the better they seemed to be doing and the healthier they seemed to get. It was wonderful to see!”
“When a family eats well and doesn’t have to worry about putting food on the table, the whole community benefits: children are less sick and do better in school, and parents are less stressed.”
The food bank owes its success in large part to the community’s generosity. “Our schools organize food drives for us, our stores give us their unsold food, our residents come to help out with distributing the food or cleaning up after. Everyone gets involved,” says Delaurier. “We’re like that in Ste. Rose. When something happens, the community rallies. We really take care of one another.”