Magog food bank is there for you

By Taylor McClure, Special to The Record

Food banks are among the essential services remaining open during the COVID-19 crisis. Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog, one of the various food banks that serve the Estrie region, wanted to reach out to the Anglophone population in the Memphrémagog MRC to let people know that they are there to provide support in these times of need.
Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog recognizes that with the difficulties surrounding COVID-19, many people are left struggling trying to put food on the table. “We want the Anglophone community to feel free to call us at the food bank to receive some help if needed,” said Andrée Gagnon, General Manager of Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog.
They also recognize that people are not always comfortable making that phone call to the food bank, but said they are there to provide that type of support and those in need are encouraged to reach out. “It’s a personal situation every time but people have to feel free to call us and not be shy because we understand these are difficult times for a lot of people,” mentioned Gagnon. “Maybe some people don’t know us or what we do to help people that have a difficult time to put food on their table but we understand that sometimes it’s a temporary situation.”
She added that with the many changes and closures that various businesses and establishments are facing, there will be certain individuals and families that will depend on the food bank that didn’t once need to. “Since kids are at home now, the costs are higher. Some people could get some help from the school but now they don’t. The kids need to eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks at home. We know some people aren’t used to calling us that now have to.”
While Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog is one of the essential services continuing to provide for the community of Memphrémagog, these services are only available by phone. “People can call us and we will evaluate their situation with them, what they have as revenue and expenses, and if they qualify to receive some food help we make an appointment with them and they can pick up their food by our warehouse.”
Any resident living in Memphrémagog MRC who wishes to reach out to the food bank to receive help and support should do so at 819-868-4438. Phones are open on Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. If the phone is busy, leave a message with your name and number and they will get back to you as soon as possible.
Food can be picked up at Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog’s warehouse located at 581 Sherbrooke Street, Magog.
The food bank does not have a delivery system set in place and it was emphasized that they are currently not organized to offer that service. However, if someone really can’t arrange something for pick up and they are unable to leave their home bank, Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog will see what they can do if you give them a call.
Gagnon highlighted that not everyone is eligible to receive food and that people have to fit their specific criteria.
Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog provides families with fruit, vegetables, canned goods, meat, non-perishable goods, eggs, milk, amongst various other items. “We give food based on the size of the family. If they are one person or if they are a husband, a wife, and children we adapt the food boxes for the family. We also take notes if the person has allergies or intolerance.” Each box of food that is given to a family is free and they are usually given once a month. “If we can help a person it’s one food box per month but it also depends on the family profile. It could be once a month, twice a month, or every eight weeks.”
While other services offered by the food bank are closed, such as their ‘social coffees,’ they can help anyone struggling with unemployment and a difficult financial situation as well. “We can give references too. This is more difficult right now because most places are closed but most keep their phone services. We can help them find somebody that can help them if needed.”
It is important to take note that while the Banque alimentaire Memphrémagog usually accepts food donations, they are currently not doing so. If you wish to contribute to the food bank during this time, cash donations can be made to the Banque Alimentaire Memphrémagog on the website by credit card or a cheque can be mailed to 581 Rue Sherbrooke, Magog, QC J1X 2S4.

Published in the Thursday, April 2 editon of The Record.

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