Busy season looms for food bank

Right now it is the calm before the storm at the Red Deer Food Bank. The shelves are at an annual low point as they get ready for the busiest time of the year. “Typically this time of year we’re at the lowest stock levels we’ll be,” said Fred Scaife, Red Deer Food Bank Society executive director.

Right now it is the calm before the storm at the Red Deer Food Bank.

The shelves are at an annual low point as they get ready for the busiest time of the year.

“Typically this time of year we’re at the lowest stock levels we’ll be,” said Fred Scaife, Red Deer Food Bank Society executive director. “That’s because we’re coming into the time of year when we’ll take in over 70 per cent of the donations we’ll get.”

Even though the stock levels are low, Scaife said nobody is going hungry.

“We’re always in the position to give people something,” he said.

Although the use of the food bank increases every year as the population of the city and surrounding area grow, Scaife said this year there has been a five per cent increase over last year.

By the end of the year, the food bank is estimated to feed about 19,000 people in the coverage area, which includes Blackfalds, Penhold, Delburne and area.

A report from Food Banks Canada said the use of food banks is well above 2008 levels, up 31 per cent since the start of recession.

More than 882,000 Canadians used a food bank in March 2012, up 2.4 per cent from last year according to the annual study.

While Red Deer saw an increase, Alberta as a whole had the largest decrease of use between 2011 and 2012 in the country.

Tonight the food bank is doing its annual Halloween food drive, where local youth go door to door collecting donations from 5 to 9 p.m. south of the river.

Although there is a bit of a lull over the next few weeks with some smaller food drives, the major food-raisers start in a month.

Scaife said it starts with the annual Stuff-a-Bus campaign at the end of November and early December, followed by the CP Holiday Train stop in Red Deer on Dec. 12 and Tom Jackson and the Huron Carole come to town on Dec. 17.

There will also be efforts at the Westerner Park craft fair and the charity checkstops.

“That, in conjunction with the overwhelming generosity people have from probably mid-November to Christmas day, really stocks our shelves,” said Scaife.

Scaife has worked for the food bank for 15 years and describes the generosity as amazing.

For more information or to donate, call the food bank at 403-342-5355.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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