The shelves at Stettler and District Food Bank are stocked full with an abundance of groceries, as volunteers gear up for the Christmas rush.
“We are so well-supported at this time of year,” said Betty Birch, chair of the food bank board. “Lots of organizations and businesses collect at their Christmas parties or events. We’ve had boxes of stuff coming in.
“Starting about the middle of November, it seems like there is stuff coming in constantly.”
The RCMP charity checkstop two weeks ago brought more staples, grocery stores have made donations, and random individuals have contributed turkeys, Birch said.
On Monday, the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions’ steam trains chugged along the hour-long ride with four boardings to help the food bank, as individuals were asked to give $5 or a food donation as the cost of the ride, as part of the Night Before the Night Before celebrations.
The fire department runs a community food drive each fall to help restock shelves, Birch said.
The food bank serves about 100 households, or 300 people, year-round.
“It’s about the same (each year),” Birch said. “It goes up and down over the year. Over the last few years, there has been a definite increase, but nothing major, and it does fluctuate a little bit.”
Some food-bank users only come once, but there are regulars, she said.
“They are allowed to come twice a month if there are children in the household and once a month if there are only adults in the household.”
With monetary donations, the food-bank volunteers buy milk, eggs and meat throughout the year.
“In the spring, we can be running low on some perishable items that would come in during food drives or Christmastime.”
September is also a busy time for the food bank, with supplies being depleted.
“It’s generally a busy time because of the expense of going back to school,” Birch said. “That’s our low period.”
Anyone needing to access the food bank can do so by showing up at the food bank, located at Stettler United Church at 4820 — 51 St. on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1 and 3 p.m.
Donations to the food bank can be dropped off at the United Church, or by contacting Birch at 403-742-0732.
“I want to emphasize the appreciation that we have for the support we get from this community and surrounding areas, both in food and finances,” she said.
“It has kept us operational. We have never had to fundraise. Between the food drives and the donations from other people, we have kept afloat. I don’t think our clients have gone wanting for very long.”