Calgary

Red Deer food bank demand more than doubles

The Red Deer Food Bank Society says it's seen a "frightening" jump in the number of children served, with overall demand more than doubling in the past year.

Executive director says in his 18 years he has never seen it this bad

Fred Scaife, executive director at the Red Deer Food Bank, says the increase in demand over the last year is 'disturbing.' (YouTube)

The list of victims in Alberta's economic woes continues to get longer, with the Red Deer Food Bank Society saying in the past year they are looking at a huge jump in demand.

"It's like I have never seen it before," executive director Fred Scaife told the Calgary Eyeopener Monday.

"In 18 years I have never seen the numbers, the crowds and quite frankly the look of desperation on some people's faces."

Scaife says between October 2014 and October 2015 the increase in walk-in traffic jumped 112 per cent.

Other increases over roughly that same period are also troubling, he said.

"We saw a really disturbing trend, the increase in the amount of children, somewhere around 35 to 40 per cent more children than last year and the number of families has gone up about 28 per cent, which means we are dealing with larger families, and when an economic downturn hits a big family the impact is that much greater," Scaife said.

Christmas time seems to bring out the generosity in the community so Scaife isn't concerned about meeting the needs right now, but come April, May and June it might be a different story and then reducing the amount of food per person might be necessary.

"I have never seen that situation, quite frankly it is kind of frightening," Scaife said.

"In 18 years it takes a lot to scare me but this time, it is really disturbing me."

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