Today, we’re doing it all over again with Food for All is at the Sun Valley Co-op food store in Altona. We're on location from 9am to 6pm in support of Rhineland and Area Foodbank. Listen for the latest reports, and your call to partner with us, on CFAM Radio 950, Eagle 93.5FM and Country88. Every dollar raised stays in the community and will purchase pre-loaded grocery gift cards.

Angelika Stoesz has been with the foodbank since its beginning 27 years ago.

"The Flood of '97 prompted us to open when we did, because they had the flood centre in Altona, and in the spring when everything was all said and done, they had a lot of surplus food, and they asked if we wanted it, and we said yes," reflected Stoesz on how the organization got its start. "So, in May '97 we opened our doors, and our first day we had three clients. That's up substantially now."

Very considerably in fact. Compared to 2022, the Rhineland and Area Foodbank experienced a 35% increase in total client visits in 2023, serving a total of 2,638 client family visits. That averaged to 52 per week versus 38 per week in 2022. Through March of this year, the Rhineland and Area Foodbank is averaging 57.

"We have definitely added more volunteers per shift to help with that," she explained. "I guess the really good news is we live in an awesome community, and the support is great. When you go up from 38 clients a week to almost 60 clients a week, you're buying a lot more groceries. I know a few weeks ago we had 74 clients in a week, so it doesn't take long to empty the shelves."

Left to right; Altona Mayor Harv Schroeder and CFAM Morning show Host Zack DriedgerLeft to right; Altona Mayor Harv Schroeder dropped by Food for All at Sun Valley Co-op Thursday, and chatted with CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Host Zack Driedger

The Rhineland and Area Foodbank operates out of a space at 162 Centre Avenue East in Altona. It's open Monday morning from 10am to 11am, and then Monday evenings from 7pm to 8pm.

"A client just has to come walk through our doors," she said regarding how the Foodbank works. "We have a number system. They take a number, and they sit down. If they're new clients, they go to the intake desk, we fill out a registration form with them. What we ask of them is proof of residence they are in the R.M. of Rhineland. Then the volunteer walks them through the process. We have a menu system where they can choose what they want. I'm a firm believer I don't want to give you tomato soup if you hate tomato soup."

With the need continuing to grow, today's Food for All is coming a crucial time for the group.

"As we all know, when you go to the grocery store, what you used to buy for $100 is a whole lot less, and it's the same in our building," Stoesz said. "We buy in huge quantities, so it's always nice when we have our shelves stocked by a food drive that gives us one or two weeks where we're not spending quite as much. It makes a big difference."

You can listen to CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Host Chris Sumner's conversation with Angelika Stoesz, below.