The cupboards are well stocked at the Red Deer Food Bank, but the piggy bank needs plenty more coins, dollars and cheques.
Executive director Fred Scaife said the agency has raised about $200,000 towards its $550,000 budget for 2015 and is still shy about $300,000 to keep the lights and the heat on and staff paid at the food bank.
“Although I’m concerned about the situation financially right now, I have faith in our community. I have faith in the people that live here. How can I not. Eighteen years doing this and every time I’ve said — oh, oh — this community has responded in spades,” Scaife said on Friday.
The food bank takes in about 70 to 75 per cent of cash donations in its fourth quarter.
Thankfully, food donations have been strong, he said.
“We might be doing this with our coats on with flashlights because we can’t afford the heat or the lights, but as long as we have food, we’re going to feed people some way, somehow.”
He said donors don’t seem to be giving less money. There just seems to be fewer donors and the food bank is in that transitional period between losing donors and getting new donors.
He said the bulk of money that comes in are $25, $50, $100 donations. Large amounts only make up about 25 per cent of donations.
The food bank may have to apply for things like government grants when it has always prided itself in being able to avoid that, he said.
The food bank may also put its barbecue crew to work at more events next year to raise money, and possibly organizing a larger fundraising event, like a ‘mac and cheese’ luncheon.
In the meantime, the food bank is bracing for another busy winter when people face larger utility bills.
People can save money by buying food on sale, but there is never a sale when it comes to utilities, Scaife said.
“February is our busiest month of the year. In the shortest month of the year, we will feed more people than in any other month.”
He hopes sinking oil prices won’t hit people as hard as during the last recession that struck in and around 2008.
“We know there is a storm on the horizon.”