Salvation Army feeling strain

Salvation Army operations in Red Deer may run out of money because of an unanticipated increase in need.

Family services coordinator Shawna Wilnechenko takes stock of dwndling supplies in the the Salvation Army’s food bank Thursday.

Salvation Army operations in Red Deer may run out of money because of an unanticipated increase in need.

Capt. Jason Sabourin, in charge of the church’s operations in Red Deer, Innisfail and Pine Lake, said he the number of families seeking its help has jumped by 40 per cent in the past three months.

That means that, despite a successful kettle campaign last Christmas, the Salvation Army will not have enough money to support its programs, which include providing food, antibiotics and workbooks to people who have fallen on hard times.

“I don’t want to sound a panic alarm, that we’re not going to have enough money to get through, but what we have is an increased amount of people coming in for food.”

Sabourin is now appealing to the people of Red Deer to donate non-perishable foods to help reduce the amount of money he has to spend buying groceries for the families the Salvation Army helps.

“If somebody donates food, it stretches our monetary resources that much farther.” The Red Deer division normally gets reclaimed food from Sobeys stores and buys the rest of the groceries it provides, said Sabourin.

Food donations would relieve that portion of the church’s budget, allowing it to spend the savings on other programs, he said.

“Our hope is that those in the community will help us stand beside those who find themselves at a disadvantage during this time of global crisis.”

Sabourin said the Salvation Army attempts to avoid duplicating services that other groups provide, including the Food Bank.

People who come to the Salvation Army in search of meals usually have other issues as well, which the church attempts to help them resolve, he said. They may be dealing with depression, other illnesses, addictions or an inability to find work.

The work boot program, for example, enables people to accept jobs that were not available to them because they didn’t have the proper footwear. The Salvation Army also provides bus fare to people so they can attend addiction treatment programs that are not available in Red Deer, said Sabourin.

Because of those services, its food program is in an entirely separate realm than that offered by the Red Deer Food Bank, he said.

Food donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army’s Red Deer office, 4837 – 54 Street.

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