A short while ago, Shannon Weinberger, community services co-ordinator with the Salvation Army in Lloydminster, sent out a call for help citing its food shelves were becoming empty. Husky Energy all pumped up by their new slogan, Husky has heart, set about the task of restocking those shelves in a monumental fashion.
Within one week only, thousands of dollars in cash and cheques had come in from Husky employees across all the local Husky operations. Add to that there were about 350 bags of groceries that took about nine or 10 trucks to deliver to the Salvation Army.
“This has been the biggest food drive to come in since Christmas time,” said Weinberger. “They have totally blown me away.” She calls the help huge, because, “It is definitely going to make it a lot easier to help families in the area.”
The area covered by the Lloydminster Salvation Army is Heinsburg and Onion Lake south to Neilburg, Marsden areas and from Isley to Paynton. She had one final thing to say, “Thank you, Husky.”
Dawn Veltikold, representing Husky Energy community relations, was extremely thrilled with the project from start to finish. She said it coincided nicely with their new slogan “Husky has heart.”
“This is our biggest food drive that we have had,” she said. “It was such a great response from the whole Lloydminster Husky operations group. It included the upgrader, the refinery, the pipelines, the ethanol plant, the heavy oil and gas fields, the Husky Place facility, and everybody got on board. We had a lot of people contributing.”
Employees brought in cash, brown bags filled with groceries. Vertikold said, It was so exciting to see it grow, because it was only a week blitz.
“All this happened in a week,” she said, adding she needed to repeat herself because the idea of raising 350 grocery bags of food, plus $5,400 from the employees and another $3,000 from Husky, was a shock that required a second pass to sink in.
Vertikold had another shock waiting in the wings.
“And we’re not done,” she said. “We still have people away and different people have indicated that they still wanted to contribute, so we are going to extend it for another two weeks till the end of August.” They are waiting for vacation season to end and every one is back to work and all donations have been made ready.
In Lloydminster, this is the first event under the new heading of ‘Husky has heart.’
“For this particular event, we decided to make it very simple, and our theme was ‘No fuss, no muss, the food bank needs us.’ This was prompted by a general call for help by the Salvation Army. When she came to see the shelves, it was amazing to see how empty they were,” said Vertokold. “I think the timing was absolutely perfect to help the food bank get through and help all those families that are in dire straits needing assistance.”
Although this need for food is not sudden, it is crucial to be able to help. The recent rise in the cost of accommodation has increased dramatically over the last little while. The Salvation Army sees the fallout with people now having a choice of rent or food in deciding where their money will go.
“The food bank provides a tremendous service to people in the community and I hope everybody realizes they will continue to need our support. Blitzes are great, but they need support on an ongoing basis,” said Vertikold.
The committee members who organized the drive represented all departments affected. They all got together and with about eight truckloads in a convoy, completed the important delivery.