Byron Bradley, The Mustard Seed’s Managing Director of Central Alberta, and Fred Scaife, Red Deer Food Bank Executive Director, stand by the doors of The Mustard Seed Community Support Centre in Red Deer.
Inside, three emergency food hampers are ready for pick up and staff are ready to welcome the first clients. At 11:00 a.m. Byron signals the Street Level staff to open the doors and the first clients walk in; Joanne Anderson and Don Olsen have been eagerly waiting outside. There’s a certain bliss that fills the room – the kind of bliss evoked only by the realization of a big dream.
“This has been a dream of mine for over 10 years.”
This is it. Fred’s long-time dream of seeing clients pick up their food hampers from a second, central location of the Food Bank has finally come true.
“This has been a dream of mine for over 10 years,” says Fred, with a big smile on his face. “I know this partnership will help both organizations provide food security for many people, and I look forward to seeing clients happier and their lives made better because we opened a location here.”
Operating from inside The Mustard Seed at 6002 54th Ave., the new satellite location will be open twice a week for hamper pick up.
A very generous donation
This new location was made a reality thanks to a generous donation made to The Mustard Seed last winter. Since The Mustard Seed opened its doors a year ago, Byron and Fred have been thinking about the benefits of partnering together to open a satellite Food Bank location, but funds were always an issue. When this donation came in, Byron had no doubt that this was their chance to make it happen.
“Our donor wanted this money to go towards something special, something we’ve never done before,” Byron says. “I called Fred right away and told him we’d received the funds we needed to make this dream a reality.”
Second location meets high demand
With a steady increase in demand, the opening of a second location couldn’t come any sooner; with clients sometimes traveling long distances to pick up their hampers at the Red Deer north location, it provides accessibility to many more people.
“The needs are high, the city has been hurt a lot,” says Byron about the impact of the economy on Central Alberta.
The north Food Bank location will remain the main base of operations where people can call to request a food hamper, but the new location will be more convenient for people without means of transportation and with mobility issues.
“The fact that the first three clients today are all within walking distance goes to show this is going to be a fantastic opportunity, especially for the most vulnerable in our community.” – Byron.
Joanne Anderson, one of the first clients to use the new location says she thinks it’s ideal to have a second location for people who can’t make it up the hill. “We would go up the hill if we had to, but they told us on the phone that they were open here for pickup.”
The new Red Deer Food Bank Society location is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To request a hamper pickup, call the north location at 403-342-5355.