The Red Deer Food Bank is still seeking donations as the holidays approach.
Right now, cash donations are what they need most, said executive director Fred Scaife.
Scaife said food donations are strong at this time of the year, which they can ration until the New Year.
As well, they’ve had lots of volunteers in December. Scaife is glad to have the extra help, saying they would have been overwhelmed with the amount of food coming in. But come January to March, there will once again be help wanted, he added.
It’s cash that not only helps pay for food but supports the continued operating costs of the food bank.
“We can’t get the truck to run on cans of soup. We can’t keep our lights on with boxes of macaroni and cheese,” Scaife said.
The food bank operates in three warehouses and Scaife said the utility bill from last year was about $20,000.
As well, the organization employs six plus a part-time position.
It’s been some year for the food bank, like no other.
“We have no basis for comparison to what this past year’s been, with the amount of people coming to us. The demands on both myself, the staff, volunteers, it’s been incredible,” Scaife said.
“When you see the desperation and the fear and the shame, the anger in people’s eyes, you hear it in their voices, it really takes a toll on us as an organization.”
The increased demand led to the food bank focusing on feeding people and shifting attention away from its kitchen project.
Those plans included building a commercial-style kitchen to enhance its catering service and provide education to clients through cooking and food preparation classes.
“I know one of the biggest challenges some of our clients have is the kitchen. They tend to eat things that are highly processed and when we eat highly processed foods, the more you’re paying for it,” Scaife said.
He hopes to get this project back on track.
“It’s something I’m not going to let go of. It’s something I’ve had my mind on for years now,” he said.
Over at the Christmas Bureau, president Teresa Kutynec said their group is always seeking toy donations or cash, which can be paid online at www.canadahelps.org.
The final day to apply to the Bureau was last Thursday. Today is the second day of hamper distribution.