Sunday , 5 July 2020

We Put out the Call & They Answered

Community rallied to help stock food bank shelves

“I could just sit and cry,” Pauline Mawer, Assistant Executive Director* of the Bonnyville Friendship Centre whole-heartedly laughs. “It’s just so overwhelming.” Mawer says just a week ago the Bonnyville food bank shelves were near bare and since posting a picture on their Facebook page many local businesses have stepped up and donated enormous amounts of food.

Ducharme Motors started a Facebook campaign that with every like and every share they would donate a dollar towards food for the food bank. Their contribution was $2,500, which was used to purchase non-perishable foods from Brosseau’s Department Store & Sobey’s and meat from Hamel’s in Bonnyville. Each store gave discounts on the food to help fill the carts even more. Brian Boudreau** personally donated an additional $1,000, out of his pocket, to the cause.

“Last week I was so anxious and overwhelmed because we didn’t have enough food. I was born & raised in this community and to see them all come together… I can’t express what that means to me.” Mawer says it’s the true Bonnyville spirit that has restocked the shelves.

Following Ducharme’s lead many other local businesses have posted similar campaigns, including Innovative Collision, Dale’s Rentals, and Bonnyville Home Hardware. Home Hardware will be delivering their food today (LCN will keep you posted on numbers and pictures).

Innovative Collision donated $500 worth of food to the Friendship Centre on Friday, September 9th. On their Facebook page, Innovation Collision stated that Sobey’s Bonnyville discounted the food so they were able to give more than expected.

Home Hardware Bonnyville filled the flat bed of a truck!

Photo Credit: Bonnyville Home Hardware Facebook
Photo Credit: Bonnyville Home Hardware Facebook

On Dale’s Rental’s Facebook Page

WOW! Huge shout out to everyone who liked and shared our post! We received 860 likes and shares! We’ve decided to round up and will be donating $1000 to the local food bank.

Ducharme Motors started this campaign and others quickly followed suit. Way to go Ducharme’s! You inspired many!

Bonnyville is truly an amazing community. People and businesses rally in times of need and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this generous town that truly looks out for one another!


MR MIKES Bonnyville, along with Brosseau’s Department Store, is hosting a Pasta for Pasta campaign until Sunday, September 11th. If you purchase a bowl of pasta in the restaurant, you will be given a bag of pasta to place in the food bank bin at the doorway of the restaurant.

Pasta 300 x 449

The Neighbourhood Inn has requested a permanent food bank donation box to be placed at the hotel. Mawer laughs that she will “have to make one for them.” Other locations in town have asked that a food bank box be located there, explains Mawer. “The Farmer’s Market has asked that we have a box there for Tuesdays and Saturdays for them to fill. They’re going to put it in their newsletters. Then if some of the vendors want to donate some of their fresh produce, we’ll take that.’

“Food is going out as fast as it’s coming in,” Mawer says the food bank is increasing in numbers every month and that major donations like this are needed regularly to keep up with the demand. “We have increased 99 percent, since last year, according to Canada Food Bank. We participate in hunger counts, it’s a requirement for Canada Food Banks, and the stats show we’ve increased double usage. I had to go back and double check.” Mawer says the shocking statistics are correct, that the food bank is busier by the day.

Food Bank Usage

  • April 182 people  in 69 Households
  • May 145 people in 63 Households
  • June 242 people in 82 Households – 56 new clients
  • August 178 people in 75 Households – 51 new clients

*July figures were not available at the time of this article

Since the start of September, with the food bank being closed Friday through Tuesday, Mawer reports 22 new clients. “We’re still in need. There’ll always be a need, now more than ever. I need these donations to keep coming in, the way they do, to keep up.”

The Friendship Centre will be hosting a Bannock Burger & Indian Taco sale on Friday. All food will be made fresh Friday morning. See poster for more details.


*an earlier version of this article had Pauline Mawer’says title as Executive Director, she is in fact the Assistant Executive Director. The article has been corrected and LCN apologizes for this mistake.

**an earlier version attributed the personal cash donation of Mr Brian Boudreau to Brian Brosseau. It has been corrected ad Brian Boudreau.  LCN apologizes for this mistake.

About Jena Colbourne