Stettler Food Bank is well stocked after generous donations during the holiday season. Contributed photo

Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions donates $4,700 and five truckloads of food to Stettler food bank

Stettler Food Bank well stocked

Stettler Food Banks shelves are full after food bank drives during Christmas.

“Our stock supplies are probably just as good or more than after the food drive in the fall,” said Betty Birch, chairperson of the volunteer board that runs the food bank.

The largest donation came from Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, which collected donations during the Night Before the Night Before celebration Dec. 23. Free train rides were offered throughout the day with participants suggested donating to the food bank.

“That was tremendous,” said Birch. “We had five truckloads of food come in. We were scrambling to find places to put it.”

READ MORE: Polar Express takes passengers on magical ride to North Pole. More than 10,000 passengers board Polar Express in Stettler this season

Also, during the Night Before the Night Before, Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions raised and donated $4,700 for the food bank.

Stettler Town and Country Museum donated a truckload of food from its Light up Stettler display where residents could drive through the museum grounds in the evenings before Christmas with a donation to the food bank suggested.

READ MORE: Christmas is magical in Stettler. Light the Night

In addition, Birch said two area families and many groups, businesses and individuals made generous donations to the food bank. The Gendres and Maruks collected food bank donations from their home light display.

With the cash donations, the food bank plans to purchase 500 pounds of ground beef, milk, eggs, produce and fruit.

“We have such good support over the winter we try to have fresh carrots and apples available. Within a couple of months we will be buying basics again. We are in good supply for that right now.”

WATCH: Magical Polar Express takes passengers to North Pole

Use of the food bank remained consistent in 2018 with the previous year. During an average month, the Stettler Food Bank helps about 215 adults and 130 children.

“We have about 350 different families on file,” said Birch.

“We get new people all the time. This year we had an average of six new people every month. Some people come and go.”

The food bank is run entirely by about 75 volunteers, said Birch.

“It’s quite amazing. It’s a huge job at Christmas time.”

READ MORE: Medically fragile children enjoy trip to North Pole on steam train

Anyone wanting to donate to the food bank can donate items at a donation box at the United Church in Stettler or call Birch at 403- 742-0732.

If other groups or individuals did food bank drives over the holidays Birch urges them to contact the food bank.

“We encourage people if they did collections that were large, to call us we can arrange to deal with it right away.”

If anyone needs the services of the food bank Birch said it’s just a matter of showing up and filling out a form, which any of the volunteers can do.

The food bank is located in the United Church at 4820 – 51 St. and is open Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 1 – 3 p.m. and Wednesday evening from 7-8 p.m.

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