With the stay-at-home order in effect, one organization has figured out a new way to still help their families in need.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Shelldale Family Gateway sets up a table and cart outside with free items for people to come by and grab from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Items put out by the staff, which are sanitized prior, include fresh and packaged food, craft supplies, treat bags and more. Sanitizer is also provided on site for people.
Family community development and youth program coordinator at Shelldale, Lorie Delane, says the program started last Wednesday and they had 20 families show up throughout the day.
“We’ve had people come in staggered, they don’t come all at once,” she explains, “It’s to let people know that if you need things, there is something right in their neighbourhood available and it’s safe.”
Currently, 160 families are registered to Shelldale for additional support, which Delane explains they’ve had to keep low due to COVID.
Shelldale is in the process of contacting these families so that they have an opportunity to grab what they need.
Margie Shaver, who organizes Shelldale’s breakfast program and sets up the table on Fridays, says she is glad to be able to connect with some of the community.
“(It’s) a lot of work, but it’s nice to see the families,” she says about the situation.
Shaver adds all items are either donated from different organizations, made by volunteers or were bought out of their own pocket. For example, she says some knitted headbands that are available on the table Friday were made by her father.
“This program is all about donations,” she explains, “The eggs come from SEED, the bread from various organizations.”
As they run the program, Delane says they will start seeking donations for adult winter clothing.
“We’re recognizing that a lot of our families don’t have the heavy winter coats, or snow pants, or boots.” she explains.
Operating with only three staff members, Delane says Shelldale is trying to support the community and youth in the area as they are not able to resume regular programming.
Along with the table, Shelldale will also be releasing videos on Fridays to help teach families crafts, easy recipes and outdoor activities.
“We just get things rolling, and all of a sudden, things switch again,” she says, “We’re trying to stay on our toes and be flexible, and keep our heads up, but it’s challenging.”
To learn more about the program, you can contact Shelldale Family Gateway here.