Edmonton

Fort McMurray Food Bank adapts after building, vehicles damaged in flood

The Fort McMurray Food Bank has been forced to adapt after its main building downtown and three delivery vehicles were damaged by flooding. 

The food bank now has two temporary distribution centres and a warehouse

The Wood Buffalo Food Bank was significantly damaged during flooding in April. (Submitted by Anna Noble)

The Fort McMurray Food Bank has been forced to adapt after its main building and three delivery vehicles were damaged by last month's flooding. 

Since losing access to the downtown warehouse, executive director Dan Edwards has been working to restore services to help feed people who have been forced out of their homes. 

Since the flooding on April 27, the food bank has opened a temporary warehouse and two distribution centres.

Because the three delivery vehicles were ruined, the food bank has had to temporarily suspend deliveries to rural communities. Edwards said they're working to restore that service, and residents can still pick up hampers in the city. 

"All of the food that we had to destroy was removed, all the floors, the walls, the refrigerators," Edwards said. "Everything has been removed. It's actually more shocking now going in than when everything was a mess." 

Since the flood, the food bank has received more than $350,000 in donations and 637,000 lbs of food.

"It has been a lot more than normal and it's been amazing," said Edwards.

He said he's been clear with donors that the food bank has insurance coverage and the money isn't needed to fix the building. But the food bank expects to see higher demand as people deal with COVID-19 and the long-term effects of flood. 

Edwards said it's hard to say how much food bank usage has changed, but it's comparable to the increase after the 2016 wildfire. 

Security footage from the Wood Buffalo Food Bank office shows the flood damage. (Submitted by Dan Edwards)

For now, the food bank doesn't have to pay rent because it's operating out of space donated by the Golosky family and Fort City Church.

The temporary location at the Fort City Church will close on Friday. 

Edwards said volunteers are tired, which is common after disasters, but it will be easier to staff one location rather than two. 

"We are having a little bit of volunteer fatigue where some of the shifts aren't being filled, so we have to kind of scramble and shift things around." 

It's unclear when, or if, the food bank will be able to move back into the downtown location.

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