BUSY TIMES – Demand at the Red Deer and District Food Bank has been up recently and officials are concerned about a further increase in clients and lack of supply in the upcoming months.

Food bank demand spikes as concerns surface for winter months

Lack of funds and recent cold snap contribute to busy days at the facility

The recent blast of cold weather meant that January was busier than normal at the Red Deer Food Bank and it’s likely to get more hectic heading into February.

“It’s kind of a cyclical thing,” said Fred Scaife, director of the food bank. “January and February are always tough for people on a fixed income and it depends when they get their cheques.

“They usually get their monthly government cheques before Christmas so they have money for Christmas, but then they don’t get another cheque for six weeks,” he said.

“Meanwhile we have this cold weather so utility bills are up. It might only be another $60 on the gas bill but that $60 comes out of the food budget. It’s likely the difference between feeding and not feeding your kids. Food can go on sale, but utility bills, gas bills, et cetera. are never on sale. You don’t have a choice in cold weather; you have to pay that gas bill.”

Scaife said when that’s the case, there can be little or nothing left for food.

“When that happens our demand spikes. I don’t care how good you are at money management, it all puts a huge burden on our clients. By the end of February a lot of people need help. We haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Also, after Christmas, a lot of people with temporary jobs aren’t working, unless they’re shovelling snow.

He added that coming out of December, the food bank is in good shape in terms of food supplies.

“I’m not worried now. I’m worried about what’s going to happen in three months.”

People can support the food bank on Feb. 12 when volunteers will be cooking up breakfast and lunch for the Pond Hockey Association games.

Weather permitting the pancake breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m. and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch. Games will be played at the Kinsmen Hall at 4726 — 34 St.


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