Fred Scaife, executive-director of the Red Deer Food Bank. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Donations come up short at Red Deer Food Bank

Bread-price-fixing scandal gift cards would gratefully be accepted

Shelves at Red Deer Food Bank this month have less food compared to the same time last year.

Executive director Fred Scaife said food donations were down significantly last year and monetary donations also dropped by about 20 per cent.

“I think what happens is when it starts to turn around, people assume it turns around for everybody and they kind of forget about us,” Scaife said on Thursday.

“The support during the downturn for us was tremendous. But as soon as there’s an uptick in the economy people forget that there’s still those in the community that need help.”

He said it could also have been belt-tightening on the part of some.

“This was three years or so of tough times for a lot of people.”

Recently Save-On-Foods announced a $25 offer through its More Rewards program in reaction to the bread-price-fixing scandal even though Save-On-Foods was not involved in the illegal activity. The store is giving people the option to re-direct the $25 to their local food bank.

Loblaw Companies Inc., that has admitted to participating in the industry-wide scam, was already offering $25 gift cards to customers.

Scaife said if people want to donate their gift cards it would certainly help the food bank.

“First indications are we are on pace with what we were last year. If that’s the case we’ll put out 900 food hampers this month.”

In December the food bank gave out 742 hampers and fed 1,102 adults and 785 children.

Scaife said Christmas programs organized by groups and churches helped out a lot of people so they didn’t have to rely on the food bank as much.

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