The Red Deer Food Bank is entering a busy season with a number of fundraisers planned, and it couldn’t have come at a better time as cash donations to the organization are down 15% over the same time last year.
“This is the second year in a row that we are down 15 per cent. It is cause for a little concern. If it becomes three or four years in a row like this then it becomes a trend and we definitely don’t want to see that,” said Fred Scaife, executive director of the Red Deer Food Bank.
He added he is hopeful the various events around Red Deer in the next month will help boost donation numbers.
“We have three weeks left to really get our warehouse in shape and then starting at the end of the month we have a number of fundraisers that we hope will carry us through the Christmas season.”
Those fundraisers include the annual Stuff-A-Bus which runs Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 at Parkland Mall near the Safeway entrance. Also upcoming is the Christmas Bazaar at the Westerner on Dec. 1-2, the Holiday Train on Dec. 12 and the Tom Jackson concert at the Memorial Centre on Dec. 17. The RCMP also have a Charity Check Stop with some of the proceeds going towards the food bank during the Christmas season as well.
As for the need at the food bank, Scaife said it has remained the same for a number of years.
“We’ve been on par since the recession. However, the need is still 50 per cent above 2005 and 2006. Since then we’ve had to increase our warehouse size to meet the demand,” he said, adding last month’s numbers were down slightly compared to the same time last year. “We really are insulated though in Central Alberta. We have many people who have succeeded here who may have not elsewhere. We all know of someone who poverty has affected, and some of us have been directly touched by poverty.”
Scaife said he is confident Central Albertans will come together in the next six weeks to help those less fortunate and to make sure the demands are met at the food bank.
“This is my 16th Christmas at the food bank and I never get used to the generosity from Central Albertans. It is so overwhelming and it comes from all sectors. It really astounds me every single year and it makes me break down into tears.”