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Edmonton Temporary Closure

We’re saddened to announce that Fresh Routes is temporarily closing its Edmonton operations and temporarily scaling back work in Calgary, in an effort to ensure our long-term survival. This has not been an easy decision to make. 

A Letter From Our Interim CEO

April 6, 2021

To our customers, partners, volunteers, donors, funders and friends in Calgary and Edmonton,

We’re saddened to announce that Fresh Routes is temporarily closing its Edmonton operations and temporarily scaling back work in Calgary, in an effort to ensure our long-term survival. This has not been an easy decision to make.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, Fresh Routes’ staff and volunteers have helped nearly 30,000 Albertans access affordable and healthy food, at a time when it’s been needed the most. We are so proud of this important work. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic hit Fresh Routes at the worst possible time. We were a growing five-month-old not-for-profit social enterprise when coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. Our staff and volunteers went above and beyond to ensure the pandemic did not disrupt our services. They quickly adapted to the challenges COVID-19 presented and rapidly introduced three new programs to combat food insecurity, at a time when more Albertans than ever before were going to bed hungry. At the same time, the pandemic decreased funding opportunities and shuttered our mobile grocery stops.

Funding, donations, and incoming sales have simply not caught up to the rising demand for our services. We recognize that changes must immediately be made to ensure Fresh Routes can continue addressing food insecurity. For that reason, we are temporarily closing Edmonton operations and temporarily scaling back work in Calgary, while we focus on rebuilding Fresh Routes so we can best serve our community. 

We want our customers to know, our popular Fresh Routes COVID-19 Emergency Delivery Program, which delivers culturally appropriate food to Albertans, will be moving to the Leftovers Foundation under the new name Fresh Deliveries. 

We encourage Albertans looking to make a difference when it comes to the growing issue of food insecurity, to volunteer at our sister organization, Leftovers, which is one of Western Canada’s largest food rescue charities. As we pause operations and work to build back, Leftovers will continue to reduce food waste and increase access across Western Canada. Thousands of Albertans are still going to bed hungry and as COVID-19 continues, the work to address food insecurity is more important than ever before. 

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.

Renée MacKillop 

Interim CEO, Fresh Routes 

Edmonton Temporary Closure: Q+A

This sucks. What happened?

Simply put, the pandemic hit Fresh Routes at the worst possible time. We were a growing five-month-old not-for-profit social enterprise when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Fresh Routes staff and volunteers went above and beyond. They quickly adapted to the challenges COVID-19 presented and rapidly introduced three new programs to combat food insecurity, at a time when more Albertans than ever before were going to bed hungry. 

Sadly, at the same time need was increasing, the pandemic decreased funding opportunities and shuttered our mobile grocery stops. These grocery stops brought in money to pay for our programming. The combination of decreasing funding, donations, and incoming sales, and the rising demand for our services has created the situation we’re now in. We recognize that changes must immediately be made to ensure Fresh Routes can continue addressing food insecurity in the future.

What changes must be made?

We need to ensure we have enough money coming in to pay our staff and keep our programs running. As a social enterprise, we don’t qualify for the same funding sources or grants as a charity. These temporary changes are necessary to ensure we can keep Fresh Routes operating into the future. 

I love volunteering for Fresh Routes, what should I do instead?

We encourage Albertans looking to make a difference when it comes to the growing issue of food insecurity, to volunteer at our sister organization, Leftovers, which is one of Western Canada’s largest food rescue charities. Volunteering with Leftovers is as easy as downloading the Leftovers app and getting started. 

I donated to the GoFundMe. Now what?

We want the community members who so graciously stepped up to raise funds to get our Edmonton Fresh Routes truck back on the road to know this vehicle will still be used to get food to people who need it the most, via the Leftovers Foundation. 

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