Garden of Hope pumps out potatoes

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The Airdrie Food Bank received a hefty donation of more than 8,000 pounds of potatoes Oct. 3 from Crossfield’s Garden of Hope.

Luc Rodrigue, garden manager, said he was happy with this year’s harvest.

“This is awesome, this is beyond expectations,” Rodrigue said.

The Garden of Hope is run by more than 20 volunteers and governed by the church’s landscaping committee.

“We didn’t seed as many as I wanted, so I thought we’d get quite a bit less than what we actually got,” he said.

According to Rodrigue the garden is a response to the economic downturn.

“We realized there was a need in the community. There’s a lot of people who lost their job.”

Rodrigue plans to expand the garden next year in hopes of reaching even more people in different communities.

The Airdrie Food Bank supports families in need within Airdrie, Crossfield and surrounding areas. Quinn Donaldson, general manager of the food bank, said the potatoes are a staple item that is included in every hamper that gets sent out.

“That’s pretty close to a full year of potatoes for us,” she said.

Donaldson guesses more than 800 hampers will be supplied with potatoes from this year’s harvest.

This year the food bank has already produced 1,266 hampers feeding more than 3,773 people, of which 44 per cent were children. There has been a significant increase in Airdrie’s food bank usage over the years leaving it struggling to keep up.

“(The Garden of Hope) goes a long way for the clients and the community,” Donaldson said.

The Airdrie Food Bank fed 32,108 people in 2016, producing more than 2,500 hampers for families.

In addition to the hamper program the food bank runs a breakfast program from school children.

In 2016 it provided more than 2,000 breakfasts to students in the community.

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