The Red Deer Mustard Seed and the Red Deer Food Bank recently announced the opening of a new food bank satellite location at the Mustard Seed in Riverside Meadows.
The collaboration will allow the clients of the Mustard Seed — many of whom use the service of the food bank — to also pick up their food hampers at the Mustard Seed.
“What we have done is a joint venture to open a depot here in the Mustard Seed,” said Red Deer Food Bank Executive Director Fred Scaife. “It is a great opportunity for our clients. Already we have clients coming in today that live within walking distance. If this was not available to them, they would have to find some way to get up to the north hill to our main location.”
The Mustard Seed is located in a much more central location, which can provide added accessibility for clients.
“We are really happy to extend our space to the Red Deer Food Bank and it was all made possible by a generous donor in the community,” said Mustard Seed Central Alberta Managing Director Byron Bradley. “We try to be hope and well-being for our most vulnerable citizens through Jesus’ love. That is for the whole person — caring for them and bringing them to a place of health and wellness.”
According to Scaife, creating shorter transits to food access is important for vulnerable populations in Red Deer.
“This is what it is all about,” he said. “Keeping people from having to waste or use valuable resources travelling when there is no need to. The Mustard Seed has been so welcoming and we have been looking forward to this project. It just made sense to do this.”
Collaboration between groups like the food bank and the Mustard Seed is crucial, according to Scaife and Bradley.
“It is really important for groups like us at the food bank and the Mustard Seed to get together simply because we are dealing with the same basic population,” Scaife said. “We can better improve the service that is available to those people. When we work together and know what each other is doing, it makes it a whole lot easier to make sure the lives of our clients are made better.”
Bradley added, “Our goal from day one was to open our door to other great agencies like the food bank and invite them in to collaborate and use our space here. It is crucial. We all offer different types of services to care for the whole person.”
Feedback was already coming in during the announcement of the food bank depot.
“Already the feedback at the Mustard Seed from the clients here shows they are excited for the prospect of not having to go all the way up to the north hill in order to get a hamper,” Scaife said. “Especially for the people walking, on foot or using transit — putting it with four to five blocks of where they live is fantastic for them.”
Bradley said the Red Deer Food Bank has been helpful even before this official collaboration.
“We serve dinners three times per week and in the summer we are doing summer lunches as well,” Bradley said. “We need to come together, share resources and from day one the food bank has been very generous with us. They have given us a lot of product for our kitchen and we have been working really closely with them.”
Bradley thanked an anonymous donor for allowing this depot to come to fruition.
“We are pleased for the support from the community,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the generous donation from the anonymous family, we wouldn’t be able to do what we are doing today. It is because of the support from the community that we are able to extend this support to the community.”