A mother from the Alexander First Nation, northwest of Edmonton, was turned away empty-handed from a nearby food bank because her home doesn’t fall in the territory it serves.
Sharleena Sauve went to the Morinville Food Bank on Dec. 11 to ask for help. She told CBC News that her interaction with the volunteer at the counter was friendly at first.
“He was very nice at first, but when he found out where I came from, that I live on Alexander, his demeanour changed completely,” Sauve said.
The mother of three young children was told that people from the reserve, located less than 10 kilometres east of Morinville, can’t access services from the food bank.
Sauve was shocked.
“I pretty much cried the whole way home. It’s just not right,” she said. “What about people that are worse off? It’s so wrong.”
The food bank doesn’t serve people outside of its territory because it doesn’t have the resources to do so, said Morinville Food Bank president Ken Skjersven.
“If we did that, we wouldn’t last two weeks, everything would be gone,” Skjersven said. “We need to have border limits.”
‘It’s not right’
Sauve is Métis and doesn’t have status with the Alexander First Nation. She lives there with her common-law husband, who is currently out of work and receives social assistance from the band.
The couple’s financial situation became dire in early December when they had to replace their broken washer and dryer.
With three children under the age of four, including a two-month-old baby girl, the family couldn’t go without, Sauve explained.
“It took away from our other expenses, especially with the Christmas season.”