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Lakeland Centre for FASD giving back with Meaningful Meals

COLD LAKE – The Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is doing what they can to help out the vulnerable populations during these unprecedented times.

The centre launched its Meaningful Meals initiative this month in partnership with the Cold Lake and District FCSS. The program offers meals to families in the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. outside of their Cold Lake office at 4823 50 St.

According to Diane Gillian, Lakeland Centre for FASD outreach coordinator, the idea was born from a similar program they offered before.

“Typically, on a regular day, our upstairs kitchen from the second floor packages up any leftovers and we serve them to vulnerable populations that come through our doors,” she explained.

When they had to close to the public due to the coronavirus, they went in search of groups that could help them bring the food to those in need within the Cold Lake area.

“We’re really well supported by the community, so we wanted to give back to the community,” expressed Gillian.

Staff from the centre serve up a meal outside of their office, or will deliver to those who may not be able to make it during lunchtime.

“Any clients that are associated with the Lakeland Centre for FASD, if they’re in need we’re dispersing to do those deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursday,” detailed Lisa Swan, FASD outreach supervisor, adding they’re also providing deliveries to families in Cold Lake.

After receiving a call from a parent in need of assistance, Swan jumped in her car to take them some food.

“We do have a few families that aren’t connected to us that we will deliver to and we also have curbside pick-up available too.”

In their first three days operating the Meaningful Meals initiative, the centre served around 280 meals through the program. Swan said they're "really pleased with the response so far.”

The plan was to just run the program for a few weeks, but the decision was made to keep dishing out the much-needed food for longer.

“It’s going to be Tuesdays and Thursdays until the isolation is over,” Gillian stated. “We originally started to do it for the month of April, just to see how it would go and if there was a need so people could access it. (We’ve seen) there are people that need it within the community.”

Swan encouraged anyone who’s in need to reach out.

“We would do whatever we can to support them, or we might have the tools to direct them to where else they could access extra services.”

For more information about Meaningful Meals or to sign up for the program, call the Lakeland Centre for FASD at 780-594-9905.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

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