The Link's mobile food van. (File photo)

LINK suspends mobile food truck in Granisle citing financial constraints

The Link’s Mobile Food Centre has temporarily suspended its operations in Granisle due to financial constraints and rising costs. The suspension, effective July 31, 2023, has prompted concerns about food security in the village.

Last November, The Link engaged in discussions with officials from the Village of Granisle to address the increasing demand for emergency food distributions provided by the Mobile Food Centre. Scott Zayac, the executive director of The Link, emphasized the increasing strain on resources, stating, “A large percentage of the population was accessing the service and it is a huge cost to The Link to provide this service to Granisle. With limited resources and no funding from that community, the Granisle run was no longer feasible. With the increased cost of groceries, shipping and fuel, we were working way beyond capacity to service Granisle.”

According to Zayac, the client count at The Food Centre in Burns Lake has stabilized over the last couple of years. In contrast, Granisle witnessed a notable surge in demand, outpacing the organization’s capacity to transport sufficient food to meet the growing requirements. The unique food security challenges stemming from Granisle’s location, limited food availability, and demographics further complicated the situation.

Because of budget constraints The Link started to look at many different options to reduce costs at the Food Centre and slowly phasing out the Granisle distribution was one of the many steps that they have now taken.

Zayac explained, “Before the Granisle run of the Mobile Food Centre ended on July 31st, we looked at options to reduce the impacts on clients. We conducted client surveys and met with different organizations and community leaders with the hope of finding alternative ways for people to access food distribution.”

At the moment, the Granisle Better At Home Program has taken over food distribution for seniors, while Tachet clients can access the Food Centre via the LBN bus traveling from Tachet to Burns Lake.

Linda McGuire, Mayor of the Village of Granisle, acknowledged the challenges The Link faced, stating, “The LINK has stated with the rising fuel costs along with staffing costs it was becoming a challenge to maintain the Granisle run.” McGuire assured that Granisle clients could still access the Food Bank in Burns Lake.

To that point, Granisle clients are able to access the Food Centre via the Granisle bus that travels to Burns Lake every Tuesday during distribution.

While conversations with clients indicated that for some, the Mobile Food Centre had become more of a convenience than a necessity, Zayac stressed that a segment of Granisle’s population, specifically those facing poverty, still relied on the emergency food support provided. As Granisle adjusts to this change, Zayac emphasized that The Link remains committed to identifying viable ways to extend support within their resource limitations.

“We are continuing to explore options on how we can continue supporting the community as well as stay within our budgetary limitations,” said Zayac.