Demand so high Red Deer food bank breaks a 20-year-record

More than 900 children in Red Deer needed food bank’s help to be fed in November

Demand at the Red Deer and District Food Bank is so high executive director Fred Scaife has run out of words to describe the situation.

So he’s letting numbers speak for themselves.

In November, the organization fed 912 children through its food hamper program compared to 349 in 2014.

“And that’s just our children — 900-something children in our community needed help to be fed in November,” he said.

Those numbers broke a 20-year record — since Scaife has been with the local food bank.

“Even as I say that or whenever I have said it in the last couple of weeks, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.”

Some 1,250 adults used the hamper service in November, compared to 906 adults in November 2014.

The demand is high at the local food bank but food donations are “going strong.”

Cash donations have been low, but they are gaining momentum. Rough numbers tell Scaife cash donations were down this quarter compared to the same period last year by 35 per cent when he crunched the numbers in the beginning of December.

This week, he did the math again, and the numbers are down by 15 per cent.

Scaife is positive by the end of this month, the food bank cash donations will be on par with last year.

He said cash donations this time of the year are very important to the food bank. It receives about 70 per cent of its cash donations in the last quarter, which helps the organization throughout the year.

“When the new year shows up and we find we are low on cash donations, that would just mean we will have to make some adjustments, and we have done that before,” Scaife said.

Although, the organization does not always keep track of the number of people who walk in everyday to grab a loaf of bread or potatoes, Scaife said, he has witnessed an increase in foot traffic.

Last year, 150 people walked through the food bank’s doors on a daily basis. That number has jumped to 200 people this year.

Despite the growing demand for the food bank service, the supply of food donations and the slow increase in cash donations, Scaife remains positive.

“I have all the confidence in the world in our community,” he said.

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