Red Deer Food Bank Society employees unload a truckload of food. (Advocate file photo)

Record year of need anticipated for Red Deer Food Bank

But “increases are decreasing” says executive director

The Red Deer Food Bank is expecting to serve a record 20,000 people this year.

The better news though is that the monthly increase in clients slowed down for the first time in months, executive director Fred Scaife said Thursday.

Demand has gone up every month for 16 months in a row. In February, typically one of the busiest months, the amount of increase was around eight per cent over February 2016, he said.

“The increases are decreasing. … We’ve seen ridiculous increases.” In the year over year monthly comparisons, he said they’ve client numbers soar as high as 70 per cent. That was six to eight months ago. “I’ve run out of adjectives to describe this.”

Still, Scaife is projecting that the food bank will serve more than the 18,000 people they helped last year because even though some may be finding work, it’s going to take awhile for them to get back on their feet.

“They continue to be a client long after they’ve returned to work because of the hole they’ve unfortunately dug themselves into.”

He said it is common now to hear from people that their employment insurance has run out and they may be using credit cards to get by.

They’ve had to reformat the process on the fly to deal with more people, quicker, Scaife said. But sometimes he said he feels like they haven’t been able to spend as much time with clients as they have in the past.

“Because when people are in this kind of situation, when they run into somebody that’s actually listening to them and helping them, they tend to open their hearts and they want to talk to you.”

There is a silver lining in the growing need for the food bank, he said. He was sure last year that the food bank would run out of food by June or July. It never did.

“That’s because the community responded just organically to our need.” People from all over the city donated food every day, and the food drives were very successful. “This year I’m hoping the same thing is going to happen.”

The food bank also received almost one million pounds (454,000 kgs) of donated food from grocery stores last year. It is surplus to the businesses’ immediate needs, he said, adding that the main donations are fresh fruit and vegetables, and bread. The food is distributed the same day it is received, after food bank volunteers have gleaned out the best of it.

The value of the food is conservatively estimated at about $2 a pound, he said.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month