Richmond County changes method of funding food banks

ARICHAT: Just ahead of the holiday season, Richmond Municipal Council has decided to change the way they financially assist food banks.

During the committee-of-the-whole meeting on November 9 in Arichat, Chief Administrative Officer Don Marchand told council there are two options for allocating the $10,000 budgeted for food banks in Richmond County.

Marchand said last year council decided to distribute funding by district, but the new council can revert to the practice of providing funding to each food bank.

District 1 councillor Shawn Samson said last year’s decision was to the detriment of district 5 which has two food banks.

“District 5 ended up splitting the $2,000 between the two of them. I think the biggest issue with that was that it probably felt like it was last minute and it wasn’t necessarily done in the past,” district 5 councillor Brent Sampson replied. “If each of districts 1 through 4 would be able forgo $250 of the $2,000, it would allow for my district to end up getting $1,500 for L’Ardoise and $1,500 to Potlotek as opposed to $1,000 each. It would make a great impact there, without a huge cut to the other districts.”

Both deputy warden Michael Diggdon and district 3 councillor Melanie Sampson requested statistics on the numbers of people who use each food bank, which communities are served by each food bank, which residents do not have access to food banks, and how each food bank spends their money.

Since council is running out of time, warden Amanda Mombourquette requested a funding decision be made.

“If we decide to divide it by district, I’m fine with $1,750,” Melanie Sampson told council.

The district 3 representative then made the motion to distribute $1,750 each to districts 1-4 and $3,000 to district 5 which was approved by council.

The deputy warden had council agree to consider increasing the amount for all food banks next year.