Members of the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat went out into the community this lunch hour, for a tour of the Root Cellar and an education on the programs that are being run from that facility.  The Club was very lucky to have the Root Cellar Executive Director, Melissa Mullis as our tour guide and instructor.
Melissa began by explaining that the name change was really part of a branding effort, to avoid limiting the public perception of the facility and the work that they do.  She spoke about getting to the "root" of the problem of food security, and that a root cellar always had something for everyone.  Alberta has the highest food bank use in the country, and they have seen their client numbers skyrocket from between 50 - 100 calls per day to over 300.  They have added outreach and social workers to their intake process and as resources for clients.
We were given a tour of the building, which of course was at one time the main City of Medicine Hat Fire Hall.  They are creating a social enterprise, to run a cafe in the "Co-op" Community Cafe and will be inviting everyone to use the space.  The idea is to remove some of the stigma attached to the facility.  Melissa spoke about their Food Rescue Program, the Food First Culinary Experience, the School Brown Bag lunch and other family support services.
The Root Cellar has also been a conduit for our Team Freewheel folks to get bikes to families who need them.  More information can be obtained by checking out their website at
A marvellous tour and an amazing group of community focused volunteers and staff.  Thank you so much for the education and your hard work!