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Food and Friends returns to St. Michael's in Canmore for takeout

Since it began in February 2013, Food and Friends in Canmore has served 90,000 meals in the community – including 15,000 during the pandemic

CANMORE – Canmore's Food and Friends Monday night community dinner has returned to St. Michael's Anglican Church for takeout service. 

The popular weekly meal service suspended in-person operations earlier in the pandemic due to restrictions on gatherings as a way to keep its core group of volunteers – mostly seniors – safe. Instead, Food and Friends began home delivery services twice a week with the help of the Iron Goat restaurant and several grants. 

Co-founder Sean Krausert said the pickup and takeout service now in place on Mondays from 5-7 p.m. is different from the community gathering Food and Friends has become known for due to the health and safety protocols that have been established for the event.

"Coming to St. Micheal's is something we have been looking forward to, but, of course, at this time it is a whole new process for us. We are also wanting to be very careful," Krausert said. 

"The kitchen team has just been aching to be cooking again and we are very happy to be back in our facility. We just hope that we can eventually be able to visit with one another again."

Food and Friends changed its meal service to takeout mid-March just as the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared. Later that month, the Iron Goat restaurant in Canmore began to prepare the meals for distribtion in the community by volunteer delivery drivers. 

Krausert said the restaurant prepared more than 15,000 meals, bringing the total number of meals served by Food and Friends since it began in February 2013 to 90,000. 

In May, it expanded to twice a week thanks to a $64,000 grant from the provincial government. Other grant funding that supported Food and Friends during the pandemic includes $5,000 from the Canmore Rotary Club and $6,000 from the Bow Valley Food Bank. 

"The number of meals we were serving at the Iron Goat was actually in the same range as when we left off here," Krausert said, noting it ranges from 350-400 meals. "Except of course we doubled it overall because we did two nights a week for a lot of those months."

Food and Friends is back to one night a week and organizers hope to be able to continue to meet the food insecurity needs of the community during these uncertain times.

"At its very start, Food and Friends has been about food insecurity and the fact that this is a very expensive place to live," Krausert said. "We are still meeting that need, but it also grew to be a community gathering where people could socialize, and seniors had a night out, and families had a change and a break." 

He asked that those in the community who cannot come themselves to arrange for someone to pick up a meal for them. The community is also encouraged to bring their own takeout containers as well.

Those who are not feeling well are asked to stay at home. Contact tracing information and other COVID-19 protocols are also in place for those who attend to pick up a meal. 


Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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