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Caritas Food Pantry receives latest One Hundred Women funds

At the 31st quarterly meeting of the 100 Women Who Care (WWC) held at the Ramada Inn Conference Room in Westlock on June 19, the Caritas Food Pantry received this quarter’s funding of $10,100 to help supplement the ongoing costs and needs for t
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At the 31st quarterly meeting of the 100 Women Who Care (WWC) Westlock on June 19, the Caritas Food Pantry received $10,100.

At the 31st quarterly meeting of the 100 Women Who Care (WWC) held at the Ramada Inn Conference Room in Westlock on June 19, the Caritas Food Pantry received this quarter’s funding of $10,100 to help supplement the ongoing costs and needs for their food bank, which operates out of the St. Mary meeting room next to St. Mary Church in Westlock since 2022.

Fran Madell made the presentation for Caritas Food Pantry on behalf of the volunteers. She noted the Pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. She said they do receive monetary funding from parishoners, community members and a service group, plus donations of groceries from parishoners, community members and others.

“We are a community food program providing families, individuals and seniors who are struggling with food insecurities,” she told those of the 100 WWC who were present at the June 19 meeting. She added they promote a balanced diet offering of produce, dairy, baked goods, canned goods and dry goods, as well as products for special dietary requirements. And based on goods donated, Madell said they also offer personal health care items, dental products and cleaning supplies. Under certain cirucumstances, they also accomodate families or individuals who for whatever reason cannot be at the Pantry during their hours of operation and will also pre-pack grocery bags.

“We welcome all, but respect their privacy and confidentiality concerns. All we require is a name, phone number, how many are in the household, and any special dietary needs,” she added, and said families and individuals can come once a week to the Pantry.

Their goal is to provide enough food for a week based on how many are in the home, and there is an option to choose items with a limitation on the amount.

But like other food pantry and food bank organizations the numbers of those keeps increasing. As a comparison, Madell noted that in April, 2023, they served 28, not including children and spouses, and this April, they served 117, again not including children and spouses to Westlock and surrounding communities.

“Our goal is that we can continue to maintain our community pantry at the level of requirements of the families and individuals that visit our pantry,” she said, and added that with the growing need, the volunteers at the pantry are seeking additional funding to support the pantry visitors.”

The other two presenters of the evening seeking funding were from the local Citizens on Patrol to help with their costs, and the Canadian Tractor and Pioneer Museums in Westlock who need funding to help with the move of the old Vermillion Springs one-room schoolhouse from its current open location to the enclosed area of the Canadian Tractor Museum to prevent the ever-to-frequent break and enter of the historic building and preserve it for current and future.

Since their first meeting in November, 2016, Westlock’s 100 WWC has providing funding through their quarterly meetings to a variety of local area needs. With this latest funding, 31 groups have received a total of $281,400.

The idea is simple of 100 WWC is simple. One person donating $100 does a little, but if you can get 100 women donating $100 collectively, it can make a huge impact to the recipients. Each of the 100 women (the number is not always 100) donate $100 for each quarter of the year, a total of $400 plus a small administration fee. At each meeting three groups, each suggested by a member of the 100 Women make a presentation of the needs for their group. After hearing the three presentations, the women present at the meeting vote on their choice as to which group they feel should get the funding. Some voting is also done by proxy, with those not at the meeting having someone vote for them.

The next meeting of the Westlock 100 Women Who Care will be held Wednesday evening, Sept 18, 7:00 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Westlock. And there is always room for more members, and it doesn’t have to be women notes Deneen Ducharme. Anyone interested in helping this simple, yet very effective way to help your community, contacts the organizers at [email protected] for more information.