The Alberta Mackenzie Provincial CWL Council and The Society
of St. Vincent de Paul Shared Initiative to Help Feed the North
September & October, 2023
By Mary Hunt, ABMK Provincial President
In mid-September, an idea was born at our ABMK Executive Fall Meeting to provide aid to northern communities coping with the devastation of wildfires through a large donation of basic food items that are expensive, in short supply which include flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, peanut butter, baking soda, etc.
We approached Archbishop Richard Smith who supported our proposal but suggested that we contact Bishop Jon Hansen of the NWT and St. Vincent de Paul for their views. Both were onboard and SVDP suggested that we partner on the initiative which was such a blessing as we learned that the success of such initiatives relies heavily on connections that they have developed thru time.
Bishop Jon suggested that our donation be given to Hay River, Fort Smith who are in especially dire need. When approached, Manitoulin Trucking agreed to ship two sea cans of food to the two communities without charge ($4,000.00 donation). Freson Bros. agreed to a discount on the food ($3,200.00). The sea cans, shelving and padlocks were purchased by SVDP ($10,000.00). The sea cans are to remain in the two communities to provide future storage for their food banks.
Edmonton Catholic Schools had agreed to paint the sea cans but due to the onset of cold weather were not able to do so. Our ABMK Dioceses were onboard and began sharing the news of the initiative with councils throughout ABMK (excepting Mackenzie-Fort Smith who would receive the donation). Each CWL member was asked to donate $5.00 and if possible, more. The Archdiocese of Edmonton contributed $5,000.00, ABMK Provincial CWL Council ($5,000.00) and other donations began to come in and it is anticipated at the end of this project over $40,000.00 in donations of money and services will be gifted to the North. Any money collected after the food shipment will be given to St. Vincent de Paul for their continuing work in the North.
Our collective prayers, donations, goodwill, and intentional discipleship speaks to Isaiah 58:10 If you give some of your own food to those who are hungry and to satisfy those who are humble, then your light will rise in the dark, and your darkness will become as bright as the noonday sun.
Together with the Holy Spirit, we are strong and can accomplish
many things including bringing light to the darkness.