Pressure on Food Bank

Red Deer’s food bank is struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for food. According to Canada Food Banks’ recent report HungerCount 2009, Alberta saw a 61 per cent jump in food bank use from 2008 to 2009 during the month of March. But that was eight months ago.

Red Deer Food Bank employee Josh King

Red Deer’s food bank is struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for food.

According to Canada Food Banks’ recent report HungerCount 2009, Alberta saw a 61 per cent jump in food bank use from 2008 to 2009 during the month of March.

But that was eight months ago.

Red Deer saw a whopping 110 per cent increase in demand last month compared with October 2008, and an 80 per cent demand increase in recent months.

Meanwhile, donations to the Red Deer Food Bank have only increased by 20 per cent.

“It’s just escalated throughout the year,” said Fred Scaife, executive director of Red Deer Food Bank Society.

“It just has not stopped. This dramatic increase started in January.”

In March, food bank use across Canada rose 18 per cent, the biggest climb in demand since Canada Food Banks started keeping track in 1997.

At 61 per cent, Alberta saw the biggest increase in demand across Canada, followed by Nova Scotia with 20 per cent.

In Alberta, children served by food banks increased 43 per cent, compared with the national average of 37 per cent.

Twenty-seven per cent of Alberta food bank users are employed — twice the national average. Another 4.9 per cent receive federal employment insurance benefits, up from 2.7 per cent from last year.

The annual report says in Alberta, “What is new this year is that the ‘working poor,’ those who are under-or-unemployed, and those struggling on fixed incomes have been joined by those who, believing they had a stable income, stretched their expenses, only to see all or part of that income disappear.”

Scaife said the surge in demand is simple economics since Alberta had the farthest to fall during the recession.

The report said one-third of Alberta food banks have had to cut back on the amount of food they give out.

Red Deer Food Bank reduced hamper supplies for the first time in seven years after increasing whenever it could through the years.

“I would say we’re back to the levels that we were in probably about 2004. But even at 2004 (levels), we’re still getting five to seven days worth of food into the hands of people who need it critically.”

Not as many fresh fruits and vegetables are available on a daily basis because more of the supply is needed to help fill hampers.

Scaife said food hampers may shrink again in the new year if donations don’t increase.

The food bank’s next public donation campaign runs from today to Saturday at Festival RV’s Festival Of Lights.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

Kitten season puts pressure on Red Deer shelter

More public education needed to control cat population

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

‘Start low, go slow’: Experts walk bud beginners through cannabis 101

With the countdown to cannabis legalization Wednesday ticking towards 4-20, some novice… Continue reading

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Most Read