Accueil Kateri Centre in Ste. Anne completed it's first year, serving 37 families.

Board Chair Aurele Boisvert says because of the generosity of the community, they are able to offer an educational approach with their activities, not only for people that visit the food bank, but for people that are food insecure.

“We are so grateful to the community generosity that allows us to do what we are here to do, so we can help people in need. Because of that generosity, we have been able to start community gardens. We started one in Richer at the school, and now one here in Ste. Anne. We have also started giving cooking and canning lessons.”

According to Boisvert, all of the money given to the food bank goes to purchase food for members in the community that need it. He says all of their expenses like heating and taxes, are paid for by the RM of Ste. Anne and the Town of Ste. Anne.

Boisvert notes they have outgrown their facility, but says the Knights of Columbus have allowed them to double their space at their current location. “We have to apply for grants, and wait to see if the money comes in, but between government grants and local support, we hope to expand with a neutral cost.”

Accueil Kateri Centre has a new manager. “Jacqueline Chaput has already taken over, and Claudette Lavack will stay on and continue as a volunteer. Things are working out extremely well so far.” 

Board Chair Aurele Boisvert holding a raw hide drum with a painting of Kateri Tekakwitha.

As for the name of the food bank, Boisvert says, “Accueil means welcome, and Kateri is for the first name of Kateri Tekakwitha. She was a young native girl who died very young from a chronic illness, and also suffered rejection from her family. We chose a person like that because of the children that come here. We have over 40 children under 16 that benefit from the food bank. She is an inspiration, she never lost hope and we want the children to remember there is a community helping them out.”

Boisvert adds, Kateri symbolizes the suffering that we can sometimes go through in our life, but we should never lose hope.

“And I think she reflects the suffering of the need of people and we have to be mindful of that. The Roman Catholic Church recognized her as a saint a few years ago. It was her young age and her suffering she experienced, but still remained close to her creator. That's what I think we are called to do when we help the poor, is to be inspired by our creator.”

Boisvert says, the first phone call with a donation to the food bank was a group of young people. “The first call was from the cadets, they wanted to make a donation to the foodbank. We hadn't even opened our doors yet, and we had 5 or 6 big boxes of food that was donated by the young cadets of the region. It was phenomenal, and I'll never forget it."