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A rendering of the expansion proposed for the Kennebecasis Valley Food Basket in Quispamsis. Image: Quispamsis council agenda

KV Food Basket looks to expand

By Brad Perry May 15, 2023 | 12:00 PM

A food bank in the Kennebecasis Valley plans to expand to meet growing demand.

Brian Riganesi, co-chair of the Kennebecasis Valley Food Basket, made a presentation to Quispamsis council earlier this month.

The food bank has been operating out of a town-owned building on Hampton Road since 1985.

Riganesi said KV Food Basket was established as a stop-gap measure when the community was facing many of the same economic impacts as today.

“Here we are, 38 years later, continuing to support people and families in our community faced with food insecurity,” Riganesi said during his presentation.

The KV Food Basket has seen its client numbers approach pre-COVID levels, according to Riganesi, with a 15 per cent increase last year.

During the first three months of 2023, the food bank served an average of 300 clients per month, with new families showing up almost weekly, he said.

“These statistics show a need for us to improve our current physical location to enhance our operation by improving the safety and efficiency in receiving, sorting, storing and distribution of our food donations and purchases,” said Riganesi.

“We also want to provide space for confidential meetings, as well as workshops on financial literacy, budgeting, nutrition, meal planning, healthy eating, as well as income tax preparation.”

With a rise in usage came a need for more volunteers at KV Food Basket. Riganesi said around 40 people currently help shop for, receive and store donations, as well as stock shelves and fridges, greet clients and create food hampers.

The food bank considered constructing a new building at a cost of around $600,000, but Riganesi said the $430,000 price tag to renovate and expand their existing location is the preference of their board.

Board members are awaiting the results of soil samples taken in April to confirm the conditions will support the requirements for the expansion.

Council granted permission for KV Food Basket to complete land surveys and encroach on additional land near the Quispamsis Memorial Arena as needed, and to entertain any zoning changes required.

The town will also consider donating the current building and property to KV Food Basket or entering into a long-term lease agreement with them “assuming favourable testing results and any zoning changes.”

“It certainly speaks volumes to the calibre of people that we have in this community when we look at 40 people who are willing to volunteer so much time and dedication to the service of serving others,” said Mayor Libby O’Hara.


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