Food Bank use more than doubles

The demand for food doubled in April at the Red Deer Food Bank. In April, 842 adults came in for food, compared with 410 adults in April 2008.

The demand for food doubled in April at the Red Deer Food Bank.

In April, 842 adults came in for food, compared with 410 adults in April 2008.

Executive director Fred Scaife said he’s never before seen such a huge increase in demand.

“This being our 25th year, I’ve reviewed a lot of stats. I’ve never seen 105 per cent increase,” Scaife said.

In March, the number of adults receiving food assistance increased to 782 from 458, or 70 per cent, and children increased to 514 from 331 or 55 per cent.

In April, the number of children needing the food bank dropped dramatically, while single adults needing assistance jumped.

Scaife said most likely single adults who were laid off were able to juggle their finances for a few months so they didn’t need to come to the food bank immediately. Now their savings are used up.

The recession has also hit the food bank hard and resources are being stretched, he said.

“We’re making some adjustments to make sure our food supplies will last as long as they can. This is a tough time for us.”

Typically, the food bank sees a decline in clients in the spring.

But clients shouldn’t worry by the shift, he said, promising that the doors will never close.

“The last thing I ever want to do is cause our clients concern. We deal with some real frail people in this community. In all honesty, we may be the one real constant in their lives.”

But the hectic pace at the food bank does mean there will be no chance to celebrate the community spirit that has helped the food bank operate for 25 years.

“We’re inundated with the real work we have to do. The real work is making sure people get fed. We’re going to do that.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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