May 26th, 2024

Root Cellar expands city-wide food drive to local region

By ANNA SMITH on May 14, 2024.

The Root Cellar is back for its second year with the Food Round Up, and hopes for continued public participation to help replenish the shelves.

In partnership with the LDS church and the City of Medicine Hat, the Root Cellar will be distributing bags to homes throughout Medicine Hat, as well as Dunmore, Redcliff, Desert Blume, Copper Canyon and Coulee Ridge on May 19.

This is a wider net than the inaugural year, says executive director Melissa Mullis, in hopes of increasing the amount of food collected.

“We’re going to be delivering to every home in Medicine Hat, except for condos and apartments. So if somebody doesn’t get a bag, they can get a hold of us on our website, or they can drop bags at the grocery store locations that have been built by Co-op, Sobey’s, Freshco and Save On Foods,” said Mullis.

Last year, they were able to collect 21,000 pounds of food in one day, a number Mullis hopes they will be able to double with this year’s event, as to help keep up with the growing demand for services within the region.

“We actually just pulled a stat the other day, and we have seen a 170% increase since 2019. We were feeding around 1,000 people in 2019, and we’re feeding over 3,000 people now,” said Mullis.

Bags will be delivered between May 17 and May 22, and participants are asked to fill the bags with non-perishable foods before leaving them up for pickup on the morning of May 25. Mullis reminds the public to be mindful of the best-before dates on food products they put out, as while they can stretch some sealed products for longer, their shelf life is not indefinite.

“We’re just looking to fill our shelves and stay sustainable for the amount of people that we have coming into use our services,” said Mullis. “We’re so grateful to all the volunteers who are supporting us with this event, as well. It takes a lot of people to pull it off, and we’re just really grateful for all the people who are dropping off bags and picking them up.”

Those who do not receive a bag may donate at stated locations, or donate monetarily if they still wish to support, either via e-transfer to, or by stopping by the Root Cellar location.

The Root Cellar is also still seeking volunteers to deliver and pick up bags, with some routes still available.

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