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Demand for food has increased at Westlock Wecan Depot

Westlock Wecan Depot has served Westlock and area for nine years
Volunteers with the Westlock Wecan Depot, one of several depots in the province with the Wecan Food Basket Society, were preparing and distributing food baskets March 22. The not-for-profit society based in Edmonton provides a variety of foods to area residents including meats and produce at an affordable price. Volunteers are from L-R: Maggie Adamuv, Pamela Kawalych, Nancy Machetchuk, Melba Nelson, Wray Betts, Don Swan, Norma Betts, Martin Meindertsma, Shari Reach and Linda Smith. Kristine Jean/WN

WESTLOCK — For close to a decade, the Westlock Wecan Depot has been helping provide healthy food and food security to area residents.

The depot is one of several with the Wecan Food Basket Society, a not-for-profit organization based in Edmonton, and as food prices continue to increase, more people are considering options like the Wecan Food Basket Society. 

“We started in 2014 with 23 orders and today we have 75 orders,” said Westlock depot co-ordinator, Pamela Kawalych. “People are seeing that there is value and I think people are more conscious of the value because of the local increases in the produce and meat.”

The society has several depots in northern Alberta and are usually within an hour’s drive of Edmonton, noted Kawalych, so that the quality of food is maintained. Orders are picked up in the city in the early morning and delivered to Westlock the same day they are distributed to residents, at the depot’s location at the Westlock Gospel Chapel.    

For most of the past nine years, the Westlock depot held steady at 30 to 40 (basket) orders a month until late 2023, said Kawalych, at which point orders “bumped way up.” 

“The last six months they have really increased,” she explained, adding that produce orders are $15 each and include three fruits and three vegetables, while the meat orders come in at $20 and usually include a package of hamburger and one other type of meat, that changes each month including a beef roast, a chicken, chicken thighs or pork tenderloin.

Most of the food comes from the Edmonton Wholesale Market, noted Kawalycha, adding that providing the food baskets is also a way to help area residents focus on healthy eating.

“They are sourced with healthy foods … and there’s a selection that normally you may not have chosen, but you are given recipes each month to use what’s in the basket,” she said pointing out a food basket bulletin that is included in each order that provides both recipes and a price comparison chart for meat and produce commonly bought at various retailers in the province.

Residents wishing to place and pay for orders with the Westlock Wecan Depot can visit them at the Westlock Gospel Chapel on the first day of each month or can pay online at with orders due early each month. Food is distributed towards the end of the month when money is often short for people who are budgeting, noted Kawalych, adding that the Westlock depot has a great group of volunteers and is a wonderful way to help the community.

“It’s great meeting new people from all sectors, and it’s great also blessing them with healthy food, and promoting health and food security,” said Kawalych.     

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Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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