'I'm overwhelmed': Mayerthorpe food bank receives years’ worth of donations in 1 week after thefts
EDMONTON -- The Mayerthorpe Baptist Church Food Bank says they have received an outpouring of support from across the country after officials spoke to CTV News Edmonton about multiple break-ins at the facility.
Officials at the food bank said last week that break-ins were happening on an almost weekly basis, leaving behind empty shelves and broken windows. The facility has an operating budget of $12,000 per year, and the costs of the thefts were adding up.
But donations from across the country are turning the organization’s fortune around. It started with a phone call from a dentist in nearby Whitecourt.
"He said 'I'd like to give you a cheque for $5,000 to cover the food bank’s shortfall for the year,'" Mayerthorpe Mayor Janet Jabush said Monday.
And it wasn’t the only donation.
"We ended up getting call from all over Canada actually, about people wanting to help in anyway whether donations or looking in to security systems or helping do some security," said Tammy-Lee Gilroy of the Mayerthorpe food bank.
Another $5,000 donation from a Calgary-based company will help with repairs and installing a security system, and a local company has offered to put bars on the windows.
A local grocery store donated $2,000 worth of food, and an online fundraiser by a local resident has raised over $1,000 to buy a freezer to replace one that was damaged during a recent break-in.
Gilroy says the food bank has received as many donations in the last week as they do in a typical year.
"I’m overwhelmed and blown away by the support," she told CTV News Edmonton.
She says the thefts have stopped since CTV News aired the story, and with the new security measures, she says the volunteers feel safe at the food bank again, even though the thief or thieves haven’t been caught yet.
"I’m ok with that as long as they stop. And if they need us, come in the front door and we will give you food if you need it."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Joey Slattery.