Red Deer Food Bank moving into larger home

The Red Deer Food Bank is moving a few doors down and looking for some skilled hands to help out. The food bank has been located in Bay 12 at 7429 49th Ave. for years. It has used Bay 10 in the same building as a storage space for over five years. Last year, it also secured Bay 9 for its expanding operations. “We’ve been expanding and bursting at the seams for the last few years,” explained food bank deputy director Alice Kolisnyk.

The Red Deer Food Bank is moving a few doors down and looking for some skilled hands to help out.

The food bank has been located in Bay 12 at 7429 49th Ave. for years. It has used Bay 10 in the same building as a storage space for over five years. Last year, it also secured Bay 9 for its expanding operations.

“We’ve been expanding and bursting at the seams for the last few years,” explained food bank deputy director Alice Kolisnyk.

“Last summer and winter, we were needing to unload some of our warehouse in order to do day-to-day things and then load it all back into the warehouse at the end of the day, so the third bay that we got last year will work really well for us,” she added.

Now, the food bank is planning to move its office space, reception area, and main warehouse into the 10,000 square feet in Bays 9 and 10, and make 5,000-square-foot Bay 12 into its storage space.

The move will allow the food bank — which serves as a warehouse depot for 16 other area food banks as well — to have an offset shipping/receiving area, whereas now volunteers are liable to feel the chill when the big receiving door is opened in winter, affecting the whole warehouse.

“It’s going to make a huge difference to our volunteers,” said executive director Fred Scaife.

“We don’t really have a lunch room for the volunteers now, they just gather at a table in the warehouse.

:Knowing that those people do 90 per cent of the work around here, it’s high time we started treating them a little better.”

As part of the move, the plan is to build new offices and a new client service area.

Kolisnyk said a commercial kitchen is also planned “so that we can do some cooking classes because a lot of our clients don’t have those basic skills that we take for granted. We’d like to be able to teach them how to cook the food that they’re getting in their hampers.”

The food bank is still in the planning stage of the move and is looking for tradespeople to help get the new facility up and running.

Electricians, drywallers, carpenters, painters and plumbers are among the people sought to volunteer some time over the summer to facilitate the transition.

Along with the building help, the food bank could use a financial hand. Not only will the move cost as much as $400,000, but the food bank is experiencing a drop in revenues of nearly 30 per cent, said Scaife.

The food bank, for which grants cover less than five per cent of its annual budget, has already had to dip into its savings account twice this year to fund operations, he said. Still, Scaife is optimistic.

“We really have had our prayers answered here so many times over the years from this community, really it’s mind-boggling.”

To volunteer with the food bank or for more information, call 403-342-5355.

Scaife said the goal is to be fully moved into the new space in time for the Halloween food drive.

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