It’ll be chicken and fries for dinner in Fort Smith on Halloween thanks to a donation from Second Harvest Food Rescue.
The food, which is available for free, will be distributed on Saturday afternoon. The donation amounts to almost 6,000 lb of frozen food, Second Harvest said.
Alexander Pryor, rector of St John’s Anglican Church, said the offer came when Second Harvest asked if the food bank run by Fort Smith’s three churches needed help.
“With the high water levels this year, the fishing’s been no good,” said Pryor. “And the hunting is not going as well as it should. No one’s getting their moose.”
In a thank-you letter to Second Harvest, Pryor wrote: “For generations, people have used boats to hunt moose along the Slave River, but with so much water still higher up in the woods, the moose aren’t walking along the river.
“I’ve only heard of one moose caught in town so far, though I know at least two-dozen guys who have gone out hunting … some to find that their remote cabins along the river have been washed away!
“I’m told even the bison hunt is slow because some of the backcountry trails are still flooded with standing water.”
When Second Harvest called offering free food, Pryor quickly accepted.
“People have empty freezers,” he told Cabin Radio, “so we can absolutely help people fill up their freezers for the winter.”
Two pallets of frozen chicken and fries arrived in the town last week and are being stored at Aurora College, which has room in its freezers as the camp cook program isn’t running right now. More food – shrimp, salmon, and flounder – is on its way and should arrive by next week.
The first food donation will be distributed on Saturday at the Breynat Hall loading dock, behind Uncle Gabe’s Friendship Centre.
Aurora College students are invited to come and get a case of food between 2-3pm, while other members of the public are asked to come between 3-5pm.
Elders on the food bank list will receive home deliveries on Saturday afternoon.
While this is the first time Second Harvest has sent food to the community, the group also provided a $10,000 donation at the start of the pandemic.
In the summer, a partnership between the North West Company – which owns the local Northern store – and Second Harvest resulted in the food bank handing out $30,000 in food vouchers to people in need.
Pryor said he had received plenty of messages offering help after posting about the food donation online.
“Which is great, of course, because the food bank is getting is going into winter now,” he said.
“We’ll have our winter food drive coming up at the beginning of December, so I’m hoping people will stay interested in helping to get us through the winter.”