Food donations are up but cash donations are down according to officials at the Red Deer Food Bank.
“We are ahead of what we were last year in terms of food donations but our cash donations are down by about 20 per cent,” said Fred Scaife, executive director of the Red Deer and District Food Bank. “However, because our food donations are up, our food purchasing budget won’t be as high so we will save money right there.”
It’s the time of the year at the food bank where the warehouse is full and Scaife said staff and volunteers are planning for a busy year ahead.
“This time of year is always great because we have donations from the holiday season that have carried over. It always gives us a good start.”
In 2012, 16,500 people used the food bank. That number does not include those who return to the food bank multiple times. Scaife added he expects those numbers to be on par this year as well.
“You have to remember that we service a wide area – Red Deer, to Blackfalds, to Delburne – so we’re not just helping people who live in the City.”
Looking ahead to this year, Scaife said the food bank will expand its warehouse space.
“We will be doing some shuffling around. We will acquire the warehouse next door so we will be moving our client service operation,” he said. “We will be going from 10,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet.”
Scaife said staff are also planning a number of barbeques as fundraisers for the organization.
“Last year we raised about $60,000 with our barbeques alone. So those fundraisers are really important for us.”
Scaife said over the holiday season, the Red Deer and District Food Bank also gained some new donors who he hopes will continue to help them out during the year.
“That is always a really great thing and we are looking forward to another successful year.”