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Crossfield woman launches ‘awesome’ effort to feed the struggling in her small town

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Crossfield woman launches ‘awesome’ effort to feed the struggling in her small town
WATCH: A kind-hearted businesswoman north of Calgary area is stepping up to support the struggling in her small town of Crossfield. As Gil Tucker shows us, Stacked Bistro and Bakery owner Debbie Stiles knows first-hand how tough it is when you don’t have enough money for food – May 17, 2024

A kind-hearted businesswoman in the Calgary area is stepping up to support the struggling in her small town.

Café owner Debbie Stiles knows firsthand how tough it is when you don’t have enough money for food.

Stiles operates Stacked Bistro and Bakery in Crossfield, Alta., a half-hour drive north of Calgary.

She’s recently begun running a community food bin in the front doorway of the café, stocking it with fresh fruits and vegetables she gets from a wholesaler in Calgary.

“It’s a place where people can come and get some fresh produce — there’s no charge,” Stiles said.

“It’s a way to make sure that, especially in this economy, everybody has access to healthy food, because that’s usually the first thing that goes when people have tough times financially — they give up healthy eating.”

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Many of the customers at Stacked say there’s a growing number of struggling people in Crossfield.

“Most of the jobs are usually a ways away, either in Airdrie or Calgary,” Gabriel Vintayen said.

“A lot of people are struggling with the prices that have skyrocketed lately on everything,” Vanessa Klassen said.

Some of Stiles’ customers says it’s especially impressive that she’s offering free fruits and veggies.

“Eating healthy is expensive and she puts out this produce and people that need it can come and take it, no questions asked,” Dave Cuming said. “It’s an awesome program.”

Stiles says the main reason she started running her food bin was because of her own experiences with tough times.

“I grew up very, very lean and I was also in foster care at different times, and so food insecurity was certainly there. I know what it’s like to not have enough money for food,” Stiles said.

Since starting her effort in early April, Stiles has spent $1,700 of her own money on stocking the food bin.

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Others in Crossfield are now offering to help her with that.

“I’ve had a couple of people in town that have said that once their garden is in bloom they’ll have extra. They’ve asked if they can bring it in and put it into the bin,” Stiles said. “I said ‘absolutely.’”

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