Food bank still down 70% in cash donations

Donations of food items generous this year, officials say

  • Dec. 17, 2014 4:17 p.m.

The Red Deer Food Bank is still in dire need of cash donations. Currently the organization has a shortfall of about $400,000 in cash.

“It is a disturbing figure. I submit a budget of $550,000 for 2015. As of today, we have in the bank $150,000 – $160,000,” said Fred Scaife, executive director for the Red Deer Food Bank. “Our budget is supposed to kick in a couple of weeks. There’s a big gap there.

“Yes, we will still see donations come in by the end of the year, but this is the time of year where we should be seeing almost $10,000 a day and we’re not. Our best day might have been close to $10,000 but we’ve only had one of those.”

Scaife said what makes him even more nervous about being so far in the red is the potential downturn in the economy.

“When we are saving money at the pump, that means that Albertans are losing jobs,” he said. “The storm that I think we are going to face come January, February, March might be similar to or worse than 2007-2008.

“I’m really, really concerned about it. We are starting to feel the effects at our door right now with the tightening up in the oil sector. If we don’t see something happen with the oil prices in the near future, and it doesn’t sound like we will, we’re in trouble.”

Donations of cash allows the food bank to operate and money raised goes towards wages and daily bills at the facility.

“We have seven dedicated staff here that are underpaid. We are as close to a total volunteer organization as you can get administratively. We also spend more than $100,000 a year on food.”

Scaife added even though there is a major shortfall in cash donations, the food bank will never close its doors.

“This organization has been around for more than 30 years and we’re not about to close the doors. As long as we have food, as long as there is a need in this community, I will personally stand there and make sure the door gets unlocked everyday no matter what our financial situation is.”

In terms of food donations, Scaife said the Central Alberta community has been extremely generous this holiday season.

“We’ve got enough turkeys and chickens that we’ll be able to put a Christmas dinner on anybody’s table,” said Scaife. “Our food supply is probably as good as I have ever seen it since I have been here. It’s absolutely terrific. Our food drives are successful in the City.

“This is a great community and I love it.”