By Cole Parkinson
The Vauxhall Food Bank is in serious need of meat products as they move forward throughout 2018.
While the Vauxhall establishment is incredibly low on meat, they aren’t the only food bank in the province that have seen a sharp drop off.
“Lack of adequate protein has been identified by all food banks in southern Alberta. Meat is often expensive for food banks to purchase, and donations of fresh or frozen meat are rare. As most food banks try to meet nutritional guidelines identified in the Canada Food Guide, it is often difficult to ensure that families accessing food banks receive adequate quantities of protein, especially in the form of meat products,” said Laurie Gallup, president of the Vauxhall Food Bank, in an email to The Advance.
Meat is one of the more tricky food groups that food banks have difficulty in acquiring due to the high cost even at smaller volumes.
Due to this high price, they rely on canned meats to fill the gap.
The lack of available products at the Vauxhall Food Bank can be a challenging time for everyone involved but they do have a project that is mapped out to help ease the need for meat products.
But in order for the project to be successful, they need help from the community.
“Project Protein is a program designed to help the livestock industry donate livestock to be processed into ground meat for food bank clients. This project requires beef and pork livestock donations from local farmers, ranchers, and feedlot operators. They will call the Vauxhall Food Bank to inform us they wish to make a livestock donation and provide their contact information,” said Gallup.
“We will call Vauxhall Meats, or other participating abattoir if the producer prefers, and pass on the information, stating that it is a donation for the Vauxhall & Area Food Bank Society. The producer will then transport the animal to a participating abattoir and will receive a charitable tax receipt for the fair market value of the weight of the ground product once it is processed.”
The origins of this particular project date back to the Interfaith Food Bank Society of Lethbridge when they kicked if off as a pilot program through a provincial grant.
Project Protein would allow meat producers to donate an entire animal whether it be a cow or a pig, to a participating food bank of their choice as long as the animal passes inspection.
The producer would be on the hook for transportation of the animal while the food bank would take care of the inspection fees, processing and cut and wrap of the meat.
The last time the project ran was from 2014 to 2016 and they accumulated 1,610 pounds of ground beef.
At the moment, the food bank has no ground meat but they are hoping the program can drum up some donors moving forward.
If you are interested in making a donation to the Vauxhall Food Bank or want more information, you can call them at 403-654-0848.