Red Deerians coming through for food bank during period of high demand

Red Deer Food Bank continues to put food on the table despite a high demand for assistance that has continued to grow incrementally throughout the year.

Red Deer Food Bank continues to put food on the table despite a high demand for assistance that has continued to grow incrementally throughout the year.

Fred Scaife, food bank executive director, said early in the year he predicted the food bank would run out of food by about June if the demand remained high.

“I wasn’t sure what we could do as an organization. I had no idea how to solve the problem because we had never dealt with this kind of increase before,” Scaife said on Tuesday.

But Red Deerians came through.

“Amazingly enough we’re feeding people just as well as we have all along. We haven’t made any adjustments downward in our food hamper content. The city, the people, the companies, the service clubs — everybody seems to be on our side.

“Donations have been coming in steadily throughout the year. Normally spring and summer are dead (but) we had people walking in every day with a bag or two of groceries.”

In August, the food bank gave out 777 hampers to eclipse the 324 hampers requested in August 2015. A total of 1,091 adults and 705 children were fed last month compared to 437 adults and 334 children the same month last year.

He said people should know that August and September are no longer the busiest months for the food bank due to the popularity of year-round schooling. February and March have taken over the top spots.

Scaife said everyone knows someone who is struggling.

“We have seven or eight times as many people claiming they have no income as we did last year. Unemployment is huge.”

He said thankfully people keep giving, like the Alhambra-area farmer who dropped off 9,900 kilograms of potatoes at the food bank on Tuesday. And the 4,950 kilograms of food raised through the Mormon Helping Hands Community Food Drive held on Saturday.

Stantec in the Community Day at City Hall Park being held today, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., will raise donations for the food bank. Hamburgers will be given out in exchange for a donation to the food bank.

The 22nd annual Operation Food Lift 2016 happens on Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Skywings Aviation in Springbrook. Admission is $25 per person or food donation for access to a 20-minute flight over Red Deer. The event also includes a barbecue and flea market.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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