By Lethbridge Herald on November 21, 2020.
For 125 years the Lethbridge Herald has been in the community supporting the local organizations and causes which matter. It has been a strong voice for the disenfranchised. It has refused to stand idly by while local citizens suffer and fall through the cracks, and has often been a voice calling out on the forefront of social change.
“We are very fortunate to have a good relationship with The Herald on many fronts,” says Interfaith Food Bank Society executive director Danielle McIntyre. “The Food Bank has many stakeholders… The top stakeholder for us is our client base. The people who need support in the community, our awesome people who do not have access to the internet, and having a piece of paper they can physically look at to know what’s going on in the community is fantastic for us.
“Not everybody has access to a computer,” she adds, “and it is not just our clients that struggle with that. We have a large portion of our donor base who are senior citizens, and technology is not top-notch for all of them. Having actual print material is very valuable to us. We also find other media will often pick up on stories that have been in The Herald first. That, too, has been really vital to us getting the word out as broadly as possible.”
Besides providing vital public information access to her clients, says McIntyre, The Herald also provides sponsorship for key initiatives the food bank undertakes, and broad public exposure in advocacy for the food bank’s cause.
“The ability to get our information out to community members to give us support is vital,” she states, “and The Herald has been instrumental in providing article coverage and advertising for specific donor-run campaigns. The other part is community engagement where we are not just trying to get donations, but we are trying to get participation and advocacy for our cause. So when The Herald is covering special events, and encouraging people to come out and do things we are participating with as a food bank, that is really important as well. Getting the word out that opportunities to get involved exist, and that includes volunteer opportunities which is something that is absolutely vital to us as an organization.”
McIntyre says the relationship between The Herald and the Interfaith Food Bank goes well beyond any type of vendor-client relationship.
“We see The Herald as a partner that helps us to engage the community in every aspect of what we do as a community service organization,” she confirms.
Lethbridge Soup Kitchen executive director Bill Ginther says there are numerous challenges to dealing with the community’s most downtrodden, but it is media partners like the Lethbridge Herald who can help make things just a little bit brighter at times and help to lighten the load.
“The Herald is really important to us,” he says, “and we utilize it for a lot of different things when we advertise our annual meeting, or when we are looking to fill positions. But bigger than that, we have become very dependent on The Herald to help share the story of what is happening within our organization and the collaboration we have with other agencies.”
By allowing the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen to use its media platform to help reach out to local seniors, in particular, who make up the core of its donor base and are the backbone of its 850 strong volunteer base, Ginther says The Herald absolutely strengthens his organization’s ability to help feed those in the community in most desperate need.
“It makes people more aware of what’s happening in the community,” he says. “We are a smaller organization; although we do serve upwards of 100 meals three times a day. It lets people know we are out there, it lets people know that there is an opportunity if they want to volunteer or get involved in other ways that we are active. Despite COVID, we are still operating every day, and we operate 364 days a year. I think it is really important for the public to know we are doing this.”
Lethbridge Food Bank executive director Maral Kiani Tari says The Herald is an important news source her staff, volunteers and clients read every day in print form.
“We actually do get the Lethbridge Herald daily at our facility,” she says, “and we do have a lot of our volunteers who read the newspaper, and a lot of our staff that utilize it as well. We have a lot of volunteers that come from the local seniors’ community, but we also have students who do use The Herald as well. So it’s not just the seniors.”
Kiani Tari says like other organizations in the community who are helping those in need, The Lethbridge Food Bank finds The Herald is a vital community partner.
“We are truly grateful for the continued support of the Lethbridge Herald in promoting our organization,” she says. “In times of need, we have definitely been able to lean on them and get the support we need, and get the information out to the public. And get the community involved with our organization.”
If you have a personal story to tell about The Herald’s importance to you, we encourage you to contact your local city council representatives to let them know why you support your local newspaper.