Art Nichols is eager to shave his head in a few weeks to raise money for the Red Deer Food Bank — but a razor is not allowed anywhere near his bushy eyebrows.
“They’re all trying to get me to shave my eyebrows, too. I have wild eyebrows, but I said no. I said the eyebrows stay no matter what,” the 86-year-old resident of CollegeSide Gardens said with a laugh Wednesday.
The former Canadian Air Force member said he has always had short hair, but hasn’t had a cut in about a month. He also started growing a beard, which will be shaved.
Nichols said he was inspired to help out during the pandemic after watching the televised concert Stronger Together, which aired April 26.
“It brought tears to my eyes, what people are going through. I’ve been lucky in my life.
“I haven’t had to use the food bank. My children haven’t had to use the food bank. But there’s a lot of people who do, so I wanted to do something,” said the longtime Red Deer resident.
He has already exceeded his goal of raising $1,000 by June 20, which is the day he will have his head shaved at 2 p.m. outside CollegeSide Gardens.
Donations are still encouraged and can be sent to, or dropped off, at the food bank.
Nichols said a lot of money has already been donated by seniors in the independent living facility, where he has lived for the past 18 months. His family is also spreading the word in the community.
Alice Kolisnyk, the food bank’s deputy director, said many clients are receiving cheques through the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, so fewer people than usual are currently relying on the food bank. But demand is expected to jump.
“We’re bracing for the impact when those CERB cheques do run out and people aren’t getting that assistance any more.
“And there will be quite a few people who still haven’t gone back to work yet. We’re anticipating a spike in usage,” Kolisnyk said.
She said thankfully, donations are coming in from individuals, groups, grocery stores and other businesses, which will be needed when more people need help, likely this summer.
“We’re grateful for the community that has been supporting us so generously.
“Red Deer is great. When adversity hits, people realize it’s not just a small sector that’s affected. Everyone is touched by it somehow, and Red Deer just reaches out and gives and gives and gives.”