Red Deer food bank cupboards are full after tremendous Christmas food drive season

The Red Deer and District Food Bank’s cupboards are as full as they will be this year, according to its executive director.

Fred Scaife estimated the 2016 Christmas season led to a “tremendous” amount of donations.

“The city responded very well,” said Scaife. “Our food drives from October on worked out very well.

“I would go as far to say that we took in a record amount of food this season. It was exceptionally good.”

Strong support from local grocery stores helps the food bank, too, he said, saying the food bank receives a fair amount of quality product that is above the store’s immediate needs.

“This time of year, just after Christmas, the cupboards are full, but the bank account looks a little slim. It’s the most amount of money we’re going to have all year long,” he said, estimating the food bank has about 25 to 30 per cent less cash than was hoped for.

“The real telling thing will be how long the food will last.”

Over Christmas, the food bank distributed more than 300 turkey dinners to people in the Red Deer area.

For now, food stocks are very good and should remain that way for a few months.

Scaife said he has already seen a steady influx of clients looking for their services. He pointed to the increased numbers they had seen in October and November and is worried the trend may continue.

“The demand has not shown any sign of abating over the last several months,” he said, adding December tends to be a quieter month.

“I’m worried at what January and February are going to look like. If we pick up where we left off in November, we may be in the position where our food supplies aren’t going to be as strong.”

Weakening food supplies mean the food bank would have to purchase food to keep the cupboards full, which then draws from the organization’s bank account.

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