Alice Kolisnyk, Red Deer Food Bank deputy director, said she’s excited for the Church of Jesus Christ of Letter-day Saints’ Back-to-School Food Drive. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Back-to-School Food Drive aims to help struggling families

The Red Deer Food Bank is about to receive an influx of donations through the annual Back-to-School Food Drive.

Demand goes up at the food bank when the school year starts, said Alice Kolisnyk, the bank’s deputy director.

“With the economy being the way it is these days, going back to school is very difficult on families so we’ll see an increase in client demand,” Kolisnyk said.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have held the food drives for eight years; one in the spring for residents in south Red Deer and another in the fall for those in north Red Deer.

Getting that support has meant a lot to the food bank, Kolisnyk said.

“Donations from the public keep us going and Red Deer has always been more than generous in helping us. We put out a call, and they answer in tenfold,” she said.

More than 100 families are volunteering their time to this week’s drive. Monday, volunteers began delivering yellow bags to north Red Deer residents.

Those interested in donating are asked to fill up those bags with food and leave it on their doorstep for Saturday morning. Volunteers will then pick up the donations, load them into a semi-truck and bring them back to the food bank.

“It’s a really easy way to donate to the food bank – all the work is done for people,” Kolisnyk said.

Jen Stephan, Red Deer Stake Food Drive co-ordinator, said the drive has grown in its eight years.

“It’s definitely been interesting over the years,” Stephan said. “We fill up a semi every year, and it’s always fun to see families and kids pitching in.”

The two drives collectively raise between 18,000 and 20,000 kg of food, she added.

Being able to give back to the community is important, Stephan said.

“It’s a small way we can help people out in need, and there is a lot of need out there right now,” she said.

While donations to the food bank go up around Christmas, they are a little low for the back-to-school season. This is why organizers hold the drive when they do, Stephan said.

If you don’t receive a yellow bag, but would still like to support the food drive, you can drop off your food donation at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints building (8 Keast Way). Donations can also be given to the food bank directly.


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