Red Deer’s food bank is breathing a little easier after helping clients battle the recession last year.
After triple-digit increases during the economic downturn, the food bank only saw a four per cent increase in demand last month compared to August 2009.
“When you get hit with that wave of people you almost feel helpless sometimes. This year has been a blessed relief,” Fred Scaife said on Thursday.
But he doesn’t want people or government to become complacent. “Unfortunately we’re developing that attitude — it’s only four percent consider yourself lucky.”
That’s why the food bank has done more outside events this year than ever before to get out and meet people and reconnect with the community, he said.
The next event is the food bank’s annual Operation Food Lift at Sky Wings hangar at Red Deer Regional Airport on Sept. 26. A cash donation gets people a ride in the sky.
Scaife said this is the time of year when families face tight budgets as they prepare for back to school. The food bank is here to help and so is Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society’s Tools for Schools program.
“(Tools for Schools) takes a tremendous weight off people’s shoulders,” Scaife said.
So far 940 backpacks filled with school supplies have been given out to Central Alberta families in recent weeks.
“We’re really getting to the point where we may run out of product and the demand is still there,” said Barb Barber, the society’s executive director.
But with classes starting, school supplies should be going on sale making it a great time for people to shop and donate to Tools for Schools, she said.
In 2009, a total of 814 backpacks were distributed.
More information for either donors or recipients is available by calling 403-347-2480.