Southeast Cornerstone received a grant of $30,000 to help out 250 families in need through the Emergency Community Support Fund from the federal government, to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school division had received funds earlier which were used to buy gift cards for families, but this time the grant program administrators said it needed to be used for something else.
Cheryl Anderson, who took on the leadership role in the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation Grant Project, explained they decided to use the kitchens at the Weyburn and Estevan Comprehensive Schools to make a hot meal, and have those meals delivered to the families.
Ardell Pearson at the Weyburn Comp cafeteria, and Curtis Hack at the Estevan Comp organized the cooking efforts at their respective schools, and they cooked three meals for 250 families who were identified as needing some support.
Anderson said the kitchens at the two high schools were equipped properly, and the proper measures could be taken for food safety and physical distancing.
One of the meals was seasoned chicken with rice and corn, and the other was a baked pasta meal.
She then connected with the division’s transportation department, and a van was retrofitted with refrigeration to make the food deliveries, with the Weyburn meals able to be picked up or delivered on Monday.
The balance of the grant fund will be held over to the fall, when more meals will be prepared and delivered, said Anderson.
“I assume that the numbers might go up this fall, and that’s fine. We will be able to provide another one or two meals out to those families,” said Anderson, who noted that through teamwork, a total of 750 meals were prepared and delivered in a matter of days. Each meal has enough for five people as an average size per family.
Asked if their program could coordinate with the food banks in the area, Anderson said she hadn’t thought of that, but was aware of the programs run by the Salvation Army through their food banks in Weyburn and Estevan. She wasn’t sure what other communities have for food banks.
She was also asked if they know how many of the families they help have babies. She said she didn’t know the answer to that, but would look into it, and into whether there might be another grant available that could help with that.