MD Assists with Local Second Harvest Initiative

The MD recently teamed up with the Gentle Ben Care Society (Smith Chapter) to launch a local pilot of the Second Harvest Food Rescue program.

In preparation for this project, Smith Gentle Ben Care Society Coordinator Ruth Reay polled the community to identify a need for a little “extra support” during the uncertainty of COVID-19. Public response was high, with 80 area families indicating their willingness to participate in her proposed Second Harvest Program whereby unsold nutritious food from registered donors is redistributed to communities instead of being discarded.

When approached by Ms. Reay, the MD worked to facilitate her initiative and designate a distribution centre. The Smith Community Complex was earmarked as the distribution centre, and a COVID-19 mitigation plan was fast-tracked to ensure public safety and compliance with health restrictions.

Several amendments to the MD’s plan were recommended upon review by the Public Health Inspector from Athabasca, which were then implemented by Administration and the host Gentle Ben Society. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of all involved, the Smith Community Complex has been approved as the distribution centre, and the pilot event is scheduled take place in the coming weeks, where deliveries of nutritious food will arrive for the participating families rather than being written off and discarded.

“Collectively, we turned oranges into marmalades,” shared Barry Kolenosky, Director of Rural Special Projects and Interim Chief Administrative Officer for the MD. “COVID precautions added a layer of complexity to our plans, but I’m pleased to announce that this worthwhile project is a go. Congratulations to Ms. Reay and the Gentle Ben Society for championing this initiative, and kudos to the MD team for thinking outside the box and helping facilitate the distribution centre in record time.”

About the Second Harvest Food Rescue Program

Second Harvest is Canada's largest food rescue organization. Since 1985, this group has matched food donations from generous businesses, who understand the importance of recovering healthy, nutritious food and diverting it to those in need. This platform takes a local approach, giving food donors a simple and fast system to connect directly with social service programs in local communities.

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