Regina Food Bank gets new downtown location with drive-thru

Foods like canned meat, pasta and peanut butter are among the items the Regina Food Bank hopes to collect in their annual food drive. David Baxter/Global News

It was a busy day at city hall in Regina Wednesday as the executive committee looked at various items on the agenda with a large number of delegations presenting.

First up, the Regina Food Bank hoped to secure a drive-thru lot as part of a new downtown location.

The location for the new food hub has already been purchased from the province. The food bank made a deal to buy the former SLGA store located at 12th Avenue at “below market value.”

The executive committee voted unanimously to lease an empty lot on 12th street behind that shuttered SLGA store for a drive-thru into the new food bank location.

The food hub will be different from existing services as it draws inspiration from the grocery store concept where people can choose what they need most.

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They’ll also be able to access services via the drive-thru.

“By securing this and supporting the food bank in creating a first-of-its-kind grocery store, this will provide a humanizing way of giving this experience not just to Indigenous people but also working class and so many different people,” Alicia Morrow, one of the delegations and CEO at The Comeback Society, said.

Kaytlyn Barber from the Regina Food Bank said they feed more than 12,000 people a month, support more than 1,500 students, distribute 13,000 pounds of food a day and operate without government funding.

“When people are food insecure, our education, health care and economic outcomes suffer. Today we offer a partnership to bring healthy food closer to more people,” she said.

Shauna Flaman, also from the food bank, said getting the food bank downtown will increase accessibility by 108 per cent.

The food bank’s David Froh said the food hub will be vibrant and will act like a grocery store, adding that food will still be free but with greater dignity and a better experience.

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“More locally grown food, the site will be bright, open and the exterior will be a hub of safe activity,” he said.

“Together we can feed our neighbours and rejuvenate an underfunded corner in our downtown,” John Bailey, CEO at Regina Food Bank, said.

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Regina’s executive council also looked at purchasing land so Cowessess First Nation can facilitate the development of an urban Indigenous health centre.

Cowessess owns the entire block of land between Albert and Angus streets and 6th and 7th avenues. Purchasing the land will take the urban reserve project to its final stages of completion.

Chief Cadmus Delorme says the facility will be open to all people, not just Indigenous people.

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“This urban Indigenous health centre will have primary care, secondary care and we are finalizing partnerships with SHA. Accessible to all … but just picture a four-storey building there that will be Indigenous world view,” he said.

The motion passed unanimously in executive committee Wednesday.

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