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Coronavirus: Alberta groups join forces to help people struggling to afford food

Click to play video 'Alberta groups join forces to help people struggling to afford food' Alberta groups join forces to help people struggling to afford food
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta organizations are hoping to help people struggling to get their next meal, as the COVID-19 crisis hits the economy hard. Sarah Komadina has more – Apr 26, 2020

Many people have been laid off and are staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that means for some, things are getting desperate.

There are multiple groups in Edmonton and Calgary offering free food, no questions asked.

“It’s very sad, it’s a heart-breaking situation when you see that there are people living in Canada that can’t afford food,” Varinder Bhullar, with Green Scholars of Alberta, said.

Bhullar has partnered with Dil-E-Punjab in Edmonton’s Mill Woods to provide free cooked meals nightly. People are encouraged to send them a text earlier in the day with how many meals they need.

READ MORE: Canada’s meat-and-potato problem: Coronavirus pandemic hits the food supply chain

Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., the meals are handed out. They started doing this the middle of April and have enough money to go until the end of May.

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“When a pandemic comes in we all have to work as a community, and then help each other, and that is what is happening right now,” Bhullar said.

Sikh Youth Edmonton has also stepped up to the plate.

The group has received donations from local grocery stores and it is offering emergency food kits with more than 10 items. It should help households get through the month.

The kits have rice, dried pasta and other staples.

“Lots of people who are newcomers or single parents, they are actually in need of this help,” Manjit Singh, with Sikh Youth Edmonton, said.

“Whoever is in need, doesn’t matter, what community, what race you guys are, we are all brothers and sisters, and you can contact us.”

“There are a lot of people in need of food. They are really happy and they always appreciate what Sikh Youth is doing,” Singh said.

Fresh Routes is helping residents in both Edmonton and Calgary. So far they have delivered more than 1,700 emergency kits for free, for those who can pay, it’s affordable, $15 for a food box worth twice as much.

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The baskets have fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and eggs.

READ MORE: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting food security in Canada

“We are seeing food insecurity really skyrocket during these times. It wasn’t a time to shut down the markets just because we couldn’t run the social markets; it was a time to pivot and really figure out just more ways we can help community,” Lourdes Juan, with Fresh Routes, said.

None of these groups has been able to do this alone. There’s been many public donations and support from businesses.  2

Sikh Youth Edmonton, Dil-E-Punjab and Fresh Routes are accepting donations and plan to continue to feed the hungry as long as they have the means to.

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