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Food bank hungers for support

The Whitehorse Food Bank is asking for support from the community.On Tuesday night, the organization gave a presentation to Whitehorse city council…

The Whitehorse Food Bank is asking for support from the community.

On Tuesday night, the organization gave a presentation to Whitehorse city council asking the city to help in any way it can.

“It’s a wonderful plan that these folks have and I support it completely but not beyond the city’s mandate,” said councillor Doug Graham.

“We don’t have a social services department and it’s very clear that it’s not our mandate.”

Mayor Bev Buckway asked city administration for a list of things the city could do for the food bank that doesn’t overstep this mandate.

“I know we could possibly keep them on the list for donation of a surplus vehicle or grants in lieu of taxes,” she said.

There is a growing number of people in the North challenged by food insecurity, said food bank organizer Christiane Boisjoly.

Currently, the Salvation Army offers those in need one bag of food every five weeks.

Mary House has food bank services two days a week but is often closed due to depleted food stores.

Mary House is planning to close its food services as soon as the new food bank is opened.

The food bank has already begun receiving phone calls from organizations such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of Yukon and Kaushee’s Place asking when it will open.

It won’t just be canned food and pasta.

The food bank plans to offer healthy, perishable foods such as fresh produce, meat and dairy products.

It also plans to respond to the cultural needs of First Nations by providing wild meat and fish.

Beyond food distribution, the food bank will offer a host of food-related educational services such as cooking classes and information on nutrition.

However, the food bank has had trouble tapping into the Yukon government’s Community Development Funds, said Boisjoly.

“We were refused because the government didn’t recognize this as a need in Whitehorse,” she said.

“I guess they thought the information was not sufficient, maybe.”

The organization is going to reapply for the funding this September, Boisjoly added.

“We’re in the process now of gathering letters of support from different organizations.”

The board is in the process of finalizing negotiations for a building, but won’t disclose the location, as the owner wants to remain anonymous.

“They’re going to be partners in the project in the sense that they’re going to let us rent space there for a very low cost,” said Boisjoly.

“It would be their way of chipping in.”

If people want to show support for the food bank they can contact or leave a message at 393-BANK.