Friday, July 1, 2016

Food Bank requests more funding from MD of Pincher Creek

Josh Davis - On Tuesday June 28 McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association presented as a delegation to council for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9. Their purpose was to request from the MD an additional $1000 a month of funding for The Junction Pincher Creek and Area Food Bank. This would mean a doubling of the MD's contribution to The Junction. The delegation explained that the food bank can only keep its food supply one week ahead of local demand, and is looking to be better prepared in case futures disasters disrupt their supply network. "Our food bank is not prepared for a natural disaster," said McMan Association Supervisor Anne Gover.

McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association is a non-profit social service agency which opened its first program in 1975. McMan took over the Pincher Creek food bank midway through 2014.

"We're predicting for the fiscal year end, March 31 2017, to run a deficit of approximately $22 000," said McMan South Director of Finance Tracie Mutschler. According to Mutschler this is down from the defecit of approximately $25 000 - $30 000. "We're hoping to bring it down each year." Mutschler explained the the Food Bank relies primarily on donations. "There are limited operating grants available for food banks. However, there is adequate funding for capital projects." McMan is also hopeful that their partnership with the Pincher Creek Rotary Club will generate funds.

"We have noticed an increase in demand," said Mutschler. She explained that in the current economy the Food Bank is able to give less than in the past. "The biggest expenses we have in terms of operating are the manpower expenses, and then our food expense." This is in spite of partnerships formed with local businesses. "The rest of our expenses are pretty minor."

However, members of Council raised concerns over the requested funding increase. "Do we have any reason to believe, since it didn't work the first time, that you've come up with a plan for sustainability now that you didn't have then?" asked Councillor Fred Schoening, noting that the $1000 a month contribution was initially supposed to get halved to $500 in future years. "Bear in mind, we see the load, and as you noted these are tough economic times."

Reeve Brian Hammond noted a lack of information provided to council regarding this request for funding. "We need to have a budget. We need to have a business plan. I know there's a lot of crystal ball gazing in this business. I understand that. But we need as much information as you can give us," said Hammond.

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