The Carlyle and District Foodbank is unique because of how many communities it impacts and the range of services it offers. 

“It’s significant, it’s a big area. 10 towns and three First Nations communities will come to us. Not everybody is the same. Every month they have to phone in and get put on the list,” said Theresa Luedtke, director of the Carlyle and District Food Bank.     

They cover a 60-kilometre radius that goes from Redvers to Stoughton, and then from Wawota down to Alameda.

In addition to food hampers, and drop-ins they support many different groups in their region. They recently moved into a larger facility which helps them accommodate all of their programs. 

“Programs that receive our support include the activity Center in Redvers. That's the group homes, the cooking class, and individual hampers,” said Luedtke. “The senior 'Lend a Hand' program in five communities, we started this during COVID, and we've kept it up. This is a way of stopping in to see how seniors are doing.” 

They provide hygiene supplies, library snacks, school breakfast, and snack programs. They provide support to the Merrifield Public Health food pantry and help new Canadians in Wawota, Carlyle, and Kisbey.  

Through Foodbanks Canada they received 74 cases of feminine hygiene products and they have made it last, but are coming to the end of their supply as schools in the area have started reaching out for support in this area. They have also been successful in providing for the ‘After the Bell’ program with the support of Foodbanks Canada 

“Which is a summer snack program, we give out about 280 packs in the summer. This also includes fresh fruit.” said Luedtke. 
They have recently begun partnering with the SPCA to provide pet food, for those that can no longer afford it.

 Luedtke said it is important to keep people and their pets together, especially during difficult times.  

The South East Research Farm in Redvers provided them with a few varieties of beans and the Regina foodbank donated 500 bags of split peas.  

“I think we are down to having 166 left,” said Luedtke of the split peas. So, we’ve done pretty well on educating people on how to use different products.” 

The food bank also provides recipes to go with the items that they send out, including a pea soup recipe that has gone over well with those in the community.  

They have a few refrigeration units to hold meat, milk, and eggs. Luedtke said they get all their supplies from local vendors, including farmers who will donate meat and other items. 

“We’ll get walk-ins too, and they haven’t ordered so we don’t have a supply of milk, bread, and eggs because we have to order that ahead of time for the amount of people,” said Luedtke.  

She said she is thankful for the donations because it keeps the monthly costs down.  

“We buy all our foods locally. We don’t go to the Costco's and the Walmart's. We buy it from our bakery, we buy from our Co-op here.” 

“It's larger than our community and I'm excited that those that can't represent themselves have an opportunity for a safe space in the area,” said Carlyle Mayor, Jenn Sedor, “The volunteers here work very hard to ensure that no one gets left behind and we are exceptionally fortunate to have very community-minded citizens who take charge of this project and I'm so proud of them.

The biggest concern with the foodbank's operation is rising food costs and increasing demand.  

“We are a supplement to the existing programs that clients should already be on if they are returning monthly," said Luedtke. “We ask for valid health cards for the individuals in the households they are requesting for, and the type of income they receive.”  

They recently received a $10,000 donation from the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) which will help with monthly costs.  

In Carlyle, a community garden has been started and they saw their first crop last year.  

“Our plans are to include school students as much as possible, and we have the Carlyle High School organized to build a garden shed,” said Luedtke.  

Sedor said that they are planning on expanding the garden project this year, but no plans have been finalized.  

“It’s always wonderful to have a spot where residents can have fresh produce because it’s very expensive,” said Sedor. “It’s making sure that people have food that is not just available, but also healthy and nutritious.”