Temporary depot helping address food insecurity for northeast families

A food depot is helping Sudanese, Somali and other families in northeast Calgary address the growing issue of food insecurity as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a financial toll.

The temporary centre connects families with food basics

Boxes of fresh and packaged food items wait to be picked up at the depot in Rundle by families who need extra help during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Marion Ashton)

A food depot is helping families in northeast Calgary address the growing issue of food insecurity as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a financial toll across all cultures and backgrounds.

The depot in Rundle was started by the Sankofa Arts and Music Foundation, which works with vulnerable youth and their families, in partnership with the Sudanese Social Club of Calgary, the Somali Association of Calgary and the First Sanctuary of Praise Church, among other organizations.

"Part of our culture is we spring into action when there is a need," said organizer Marion Ashton with the Sankofa Arts and Music Foundation.

Ashton said the community decided to come together to try to reach out to others.

"I think that's just a human response but this is very true and very evident as part of the black culture. It is in our nature to want to help out neighbours. If our neighbour sleeps hungry, the shame on that happening shows on us," she said.

Marion Ashton is executive director of the Sankofa Arts and Music Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to building communities and addressing barriers for vulnerable youth and their families. She is an organizer with the temporary food depot in northeast Calgary. (Marion Ashton)

Ashton said there are strict physical distancing measures in effect inside the depot, with floor markings and limits of the numbers of people allowed inside at any time.

Boxes are made up specific to the needs of different families. Some are delivered while others are picked up at the depot.

While the groups who have organized the depot represent Somali and Sudanese immigrant and refugee families, organizers stress the service is open to anyone in need.

"Anyone that needs a helping hand can reach out," Ashton said.

"We're always looking for donations. If anyone can contribute or donate we welcome any help."

Ashton said people looking to pick up a hamper or donate items can call 403-815-5822.


Dan McGarvey


Dan McGarvey is a mobile journalist focused on filing stories remotely for CBC Calgary’s web, radio, TV and social media platforms, using just an iPhone and mobile tech. His work is used by mobile journalism (mojo) trainers and educators around the world. Dan is largely focused on under-reported communities and issues in Calgary and southern Alberta. You can email story ideas and tips to Dan at