MEET FRAN WONG.
Clocking in more than 25 years as a Food Bank volunteer, Fran Wong was one of the first volunteers to help in the Calgary Food Bank’s Baby Room — a distribution hub for diapers, formula and jarred baby food.
“The bottom line is helping,” Fran says. “Even if it’s on a temporary basis, it’s a good feeling to know that you’ve helped.”
As a young girl, Fran says her family suffered through many hardships, including poverty and alcoholism. This, she added, made making ends meet hard but despite her family’s hardships, her mother always found a way to help those less fortunate than them.
This is why the Baby Room has become so close to her heart.
Since she started volunteering, the Baby Room has grown from a four-volunteer team, to a 32 volunteer team working various shifts during the week to provide all the baby necessities to families in need.
In 2014, the Calgary Food Bank included diapers for children under three years old in more than 10,000 hampers.
Babies are important to Fran and the rest of us. We do what we can to make sure that diapers are included in food hampers.
There is a catch, though. The Food Bank cannot purchase non-food items (including diapers) for distribution as part of our legal mandate as a food bank. We request them as a donated items because we know that if parents are food insecure, they are likely insecure about other household necessities, like diapers.
During her weekly volunteer shift, Fran says she sees firsthand that there is a very serious need, especially for uncommon diapers sizes.
“The community doesn’t realize that there is a need for bigger sizes,” Fran says. “When we think of babies, we think of the littlest ones, and we really do need sizes 5 and 6 as well.”