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Stuff-A-Bus raises more money than ever before

Donations split between Red Deer Food Bank and Red Deer Christmas Bureau
STEP Energy Services Ltd. dropped off a huge load of toys at the Stuff-A-Bus event this past weekend at Parkland Mall. (Photo from Red Deer Christmas Bureau Society on Facebook)

Central Albertans dug deeper than ever before to raise a record-breaking $85,835 for the annual Stuff-A-Bus campaign to support the Red Deer Christmas Bureau and Red Deer Food Bank.

The cash, along with toys and food, were collected for the nonprofit organizations this past weekend at Parkland Mall.

“The community was just amazing. We raised nearly $20,000 more than we had in any year previously,” said Red Deer Food Bank executive director Mitch Thomson.

The 4,800 pounds of food donated will help fill empty shelves at the food bank, about 1,868 toys will go to the Christmas Bureau, and money raised will be split between the two charities.

“This is really big for us and for the Christmas Bureau as well. Both organizations, we depend on fundraising at this time of year to make it through the year and to do what we do. So when the community comes out and supports us in such a great way it really, really empowers us and allows us to do the good work we try to do,” Thomson said.

He said an $400,000 extra was spent on groceries during the past year to help feed clients so the food bank really needs food donations to replenish its supplies as well as cash to purchase food strategically when required.


Quick start to hamper requests at Red Deer Christmas Bureau

This year a silent auction featuring — box seats for a Red Deer Rebel game, dinner for 20 prepared by the food bank, seats to a Calgary Flames game, and a concert package — helped make Stuff-A-Bus such a success.

Thomson said it is a good start to Christmas fundraising, but it’s still early in the holiday season. At this time of year several third-party events, food drives and fundraisers help to raise 85 to 90 per cent of the food bank’s budget from the community. He encouraged Central Albertans to participate.

“There are opportunities to drop a can of soup or a bag a pasta into a bin and all of that does add up and make a real difference for us,” Thomson said.

Teresa Kutynec, Red Deer Christmas Bureau president, said demand at the bureau is up and donations have been down so Stuff-A-Bus donations are a big help.

“Red Deer really came through for us this year,” said Kutynec who thanked STEP Energy Services Ltd. for its huge donation of over $3,500 worth of toys at Stuff-A-Bus.

She said the bureau has already seen an increase in applications from families with children and it’s just the beginning of December.

“We are certainly concerned about the fact that there are a lot of people asking for help.”


Red Deer Food Bank remains busier than ever

The next fundraiser for Red Deer Food Bank, Red Deer Christmas Bureau, MADD Red Deer and Red Deer Victim Services is a Charity Checkstop on Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Taylor Drive. Donations by debit, credit, mobile and TipTap will be accepted.

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