The Airdrie Food Bank (AFB) played host to more than 100 delegates from food banks across Canada June 20 during Food Banks Canada National Conference 2017.
Though 40 representatives were expected, approximately 125 showed up to take a tour of the facility the community built, according to AFB board president Rupert Kent.
“All of Airdrie should be proud,” he said. “Not only of this facility and what it gives back to the community, but also that we can share it with everyone across Canada.”
The Food Banks Canada National Conference, which ran from June 19 to 22 in Calgary, gathers representatives from across the country every two years.
The purpose is to share ideas, directions and problems as well as challenges and accomplishments, according to Allan Cosman, vice chairman of the board of Food Banks Canada.
“You see hundreds of different situations and issues that local food banks have to deal with,” he said.
“We can benefit from the experiences of others…and learn from each other.”
There are commonalities all food banks face but how each deals with those is usually tailored to the particular community being serviced, Cosman said, adding the community-driven story behind the success of the AFB was exciting to hear.
“It looks like a very impressive local food bank,” he said.
Though the AFB was able to showcase its facility and practices, Kent said there is a wealth of knowledge to be learned from the four-day conference.
It’s about learning what might be “next” in relation to problems, technology and practices, as food banks across Canada continue to grow with clients, he said.
That growth, however, is a reminder of the underlining issue regarding the line of work.
“I always say that we’re always trying to work ourselves out of a job,” Kent said. “Unfortunately, it’s always going to be something that’s needed in the community.
“Certainly the community always rallies around the food bank and helps us out when we do need it.”