CALGARY -- The Calgary Stampede is partnering up with the Calgary Food Bank and Solidarity Kitchens to launch an initiative that will prepare 100,000 meals over five weeks for those in need.

Stampede executive chef Derek Dale said the organization was proud to have the opportunity to partner with both Solidarity Kitchens and the Calgary Food Bank to help feed Calgarians hard-hit by the pandemic.

“Having all our people come back to work and help those in need is great.” said Dale. “As a community organization we are so proud to support this initiative and to be able to prepare food through our kitchen and to deliver the food to the Calgary Food Bank.”

Dale added that the initiative wouldn’t have been possible without sponsors from across Canada.

The meal that Dale and his cooks from the Stampede will be preparing is roasted chicken, potatoes and vegetables, which can feed up to a family of six.

“We received 35,000 lbs of whole chickens, which we’re cutting up. 20,000 lbs of potatoes from the Little Potato Company. Along with 2,000 lbs of vegetables," he said.

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“The Calgary Food Bank is very grateful to receive these donations,” said food bank board member Farhana Janmohamed.

Janmohamed added their client base has been growing since the start of a economic downturn in 2012 and when COVID-19 hit in early 2020, the food bank was only shut down for a couple of days to make sure their working environment would be safe for their employees and volunteers. 

“The pandemic has added a little bit of complexity to our reaching out to our clients in regards to COVID-19 protocols," Janmohamed said. "We want to make sure everyone is completely safe.”

Janmohamed continued to say that they’ve changed the way they serve their clients. Instead of having their clients entering the food bank they’re being served through a drive through facility. “We just want to make sure we’re reaching as many individuals as possible. We also have a number of satellite locations if our clients can’t come to the food bank.”

These satellite locations offer another option for hamper pickup and are scattered throughout Calgary in high-use areas. 

To find more information on these satellite locations or if you’d like to volunteer or donate check out the Calgary Food Bank website.

Five to six pallets of prepared meals will be delivered daily to food banks across Alberta and will also be delivered to organizations such as CUPS, Mustard Seed and the Drop-In Centre in Calgary.