The Red Deer Food Bank is getting some much-needed support from the federal government.
Friday, the government announced $100 million is being added to the emergency food security fund for food banks, to help them put meals on the table for struggling Canadians as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
In April, the government started the fund with $100 million and it is estimated that money provided six million meals to around two million Canadians.
Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, said hearing about more federal support means fewer worries for the organization and those who rely on it.
“It’s tremendously exciting. It’s great to hear that there’s some support out there for food banks. We’re definitely going to see an increase in usage as time progresses.
“COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon, so there’s definitely going to be people who are suffering because of that,” she said.
Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in a virtual town hall with food-bank operators.
He said that as major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, food banks will be under more pressure to feed those who can’t afford groceries, or are unable or afraid to venture outside their homes to get them.
Kolisnyk said the food bank hasn’t been overwhelmed yet this year, with many families in need able to access the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. With that wrapped up, she says the agency expects to be busy in the coming months.
“Our stock is good right now. We’re still able to provide food for everybody who needs it. Moving forward, we’re seeing an increase in client usage already. It’s already starting, so we’re going to need our regular items on our wish list,” she added.
Those items include canned meat, canned beans, peanut butter, rice, pasta, dry soup, juice boxes and fruit cups.
With Thanksgiving this weekend, Kolisnyk said the bank is also welcoming donations of frozen turkeys and the fixings for a holiday meal.
Still, she emphasized the real need comes following the holidays.
“We’re definitely accepting turkeys or any of the fixings that go with it, so that when our clients ask for that, they can have a great holiday weekend,” she said.
Red Deerians can help out the food bank by dropping non-perishable food items off at local grocery stores, or they can make a monetary donation online.
-With files from the Canadian Press