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

Slight increase in demand at the Stettler Food Bank over recent weeks

The Stettler Food Bank is located in the basement of Stettler’s United Church

There has been a slight increase in demand at the Stettler Food Bank over the past few weeks.

“We are grateful for donations, but it’s a little bit difficult for us to handle donations of food right now because we have to isolate anything that we get for a little bit,” explained Betty Birch, manager of the Food Bank.

“So financial donations are a great option.

“But I do know that group and businesses do collections at Christmas as part of their traditions, and we are happy to accept those. If they can give us a heads-up that they are doing that, then we can prepare a little bit better if we know something like that is coming,” she said, referring to finding space to put the items for isolation before they can be packed into hampers.

The Stettler Food Bank is located in the basement of Stettler’s United Church.

“They can contact us through Facebook or by giving me a call at 403-742-0732.”

Birch said that in the meantime, the demand has been rising of late.

“The numbers are definitely increasing now,” she said. “So we are monitoring that and the government is monitoring it as well.”

But in spite of the rising numbers, Birch said the Food Bank is doing quite well in terms of having enough stock these days.

“It’s mostly because of the really good financial support that we received and are still getting,” she said.

“There is also another disbursement of federal funds coming as well, which is based on our numbers, too. We are doing okay. But we will always take donations,” she said. “We know that we will always need them.”

During an ordinary year, Birch said the fall is typically a busy time as are the weeks following Christmas.

This year, with the ongoing pandemic, things have altered somewhat of course.

In a sense, Birch noted that despite the rise, they are really getting back to normal numbers as demand actually dropped in April and then crept back up a bit in July.

Then it levelled off again until now.

“I think we had 40 households come in during that last week of November. So 140 to 150 households a month is normal for us,” she said.

“I think we are there now, but we may get higher than that, too, in the next couple of weeks,” she said.

Recently, Stettler County and the region were put under ‘enhanced’ status relative to COVID-19, but Birch said that the safety protocols at the Food Bank had been stepped up about a month ago.

“Right at the outset, we started with prepared hampers,” she said. “In the spring, we have volunteers serving clients out of the foyer of the church. Then we went back to having them come back down, although we have always had the pre-made hampers,” she explained.

“Now, we are doing the same system that we were doing in the spring – we put a table up to the doorway (downstairs) and people get served right at the bottom of the stairs one at a time,” she explained, adding that masks are now mandatory as well.

“We’ve been asking clients to wear masks for a couple of months now.”

Again, for more information about the Stettler Food Bank, or about donating cash or food, please contact Betty Birch at 403-742-0732.

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