The Weyburn Salvation Army Food Bank has made some changes to how food will be distributed going forward, with a growing emphasis on helping provide fresh food for those who are dealing with food insecurity.  

“We are starting to give out more fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs and bread, and less packaged food,” explained Nicole Strickland. She is the Community Services Worker for the Salvation Army in Weyburn. “We’re trying to buy the more expensive stuff, more potatoes, more fruit like cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, that way people can save money.” 

Fresh fruit and vegetables tend to be higher-priced grocery items, and those who are dealing with a tight grocery budget often skip over the produce and dairy aisles in favour of other less expensive items. The focus on fresh food is something all food banks in the nation are moving to, with a goal of 60 percent of all the food distributed by food banks in Canada being fresh by the year 2025.  

Food insecurity, which is described as the inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, is primarily due to financial constraints and has been linked to various chronic conditions as well as mental health problems. It has been noted as a growing problem in Saskatchewan, with nearly 20 percent of households in the province dealing with food insecurity – the fifth highest of all the provinces, behind Atlantic Canada and Alberta.  

With programs like the kids' lunch program that runs through the summer, as well as the shift to providing healthier options through an emphasis on fresh foods, the Weyburn Salvation Army is doing what it can to help with healthy options in homes where food insecurity is a concern.  

“We’re trying to provide that, and hopefully see people start eating a little bit healthier, and have healthier choices,” Strickland said.