Red Deer Food Bank is hoping gardeners will plant some extra vegetables this spring to help those in need.
“Please consider growing a row for the food bank,” said executive director Mitch Thomson to Red Deerians who have yet to plant their backyard or community gardens.
“Hopefully as people start to harvest a few months from now we’ll have more fresh produce to keep people healthy and getting all the nutrition they need through the fall.”
He added often gardeners end up with more produce or fruit than they can handle, and the food bank has the ability to preserve that extra food for clients.
Last year was Red Deer Food Bank’s busiest year on record, and during the first four months of 2023 the need increased by 24 per cent with about 2,000 more people receiving emergency food hampers, he said.
In March, the food bank distributed an all-time high of 1,122 food hampers.
“It’s still some pretty staggering numbers. Inflation continues to hamper people’s ability to catch up and provide all the food and sustenance they need.”
He said the food bank also continues to serve more Ukrainians displaced by war so there is also global pressure on the community agency.
Thomson said the food bank received provincial funding in December and March which did help to purchase some of the needed food to keep up with the demand.
A recent food drive by the of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was also helpful so the food stock is at a reasonable level, but inventory must be managed to stretch as long as possible until the next big donation season which is Christmas.
The food bank also regularly faces shortages of common food products. Supplies most needed right now are breakfast cereal, rice and monetary donations to purchase meat.
Throughout the summer people will have the opportunity to visit the food bank’s food trucks. All proceeds from food sales support food bank programs, and people can also donate using the food truck’s TipTap machine.
“We’re out at about six different markets each week now.”