A Red Deer Food Bank employee checks out turkeys that will be given out to clients who pick up their hampers at the food bank’s satellite location at The Mustard Seed. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

New food bank site handy for clients

Food bank partners with The Mustard Seed

So far 16 clients with Red Deer Food Bank have chosen to pick up their food hampers from the food bank’s new satellite location at The Mustard Seed.

“The majority of people so far are within walking distance of The Mustard Seed. It’s working out exactly the way we wanted it to. We wanted to have better access for people who were in that area of the city,” said Fred Scaife, food bank executive director on Tuesday.

The new Riverside Meadows pickup site, at 6002 54th Ave., opened Aug. 3 and operates Tuesdays and Thursdays. People still need to call the food bank’s North Hill building to request a hamper, but now have the choice of picking it up in Riverside Meadows.

He said the majority of hampers delivered to The Mustard Seed have been for families and the number of clients using the new site is expected to increase as demand on the food bank remains high. In July the demand was almost 43 per cent higher than the same month in 2016.

“I thought it was bad last summer. I had no idea what bad could be until this summer. Every time I think we’ve turned a corner and there’s some stability coming, all of a sudden a wave of people come to the door. I’ve run out of ways to try and explain it. It’s insane.”

He said for almost 12 months now demand has been escalating. The economic recovery may have started, but it takes 12 to 18 months for it to impact the food bank.

“Some people have been off work for a year and to dig themselves back out of that economic pit is going to take a significant amount of time and during that significant amount of time they may be reliant on us for a number of things.”

Scaife said inventory at the food bank is down, which is typical in the summer. Food will be replenished once the usual autumn donation programs kick off, but more donations now would be appreciated.

“Once kids start getting back to school we really start to see an escalation in the families that are coming to us.”

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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