Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Food Banks BC is already experiencing a surge in demand across its branches throughout the province, according to executive director Laura Lansink.

And the number of people coming to them for assistance is only expected to increase.

“In our 100 food banks in B.C., we’re making daily inquiries, asking our food banks for updates on the circumstances as far as volunteers, food and funding go. They’re reporting back that the numbers are already increasing significantly,” she said.

“The numbers are already growing and they’ll keep growing, not just in this immediate moment but this will have lasting repercussions for the food banks all across our province for another year or two as we come to terms with this.”

In order to prepare, Lansink said Food Banks BC is working very closely with retail partners to fill their shelves.

“We’re dealing a lot with Save On Foods, they’ve been a great partner to us. They’re prioritizing our orders because as you know, shelves are being emptied out of our local stores and that means that food banks may not always get the food they need for the clients in their communities.”

She said as people try to protect their families and take care of their needs, food donations have decreased. She added that people who usually donate money to them are now out of jobs and simply can’t afford to help them out.

But besides struggling to fill their shelves, Lansink said they’re also struggling on the volunteer front.

“About half of our food banks in B.C. are run completely by volunteers… and these volunteers are mostly elderly people, and these are the high-risk folks who have to stay home. So we’re seeing now our operations on a skeleton basis. The food banks really have been emptied out and the staff are having to fill all roles,” she said.

“I don’t know how long they can keep that up because they’re working hard and we’re committed to staying open and being there for every community, but it’s a very challenging time right now.”

She said branches throughout the province have also implemented social distancing to keep volunteers and clients safe. She said some branches have a drive-thru service, others deliver pre-packaged hampers to clients’ cars in the parking lot, as well as home delivery.

Lansink added they’re open to food and monetary donations, as well as volunteers.

“Connect with your local food bank, give them a call and see what they need. Go down and help. If you can’t go out and volunteer, you can donate to Food Banks BC, and that money will go straight to our food banks so they can keep their doors open.”

For online donations and to locate the nearest food bank near you, visit Food Banks BC’s website.

READ MORE: Big White chef brings fresh produce to Central Okanagan Food Bank

READ MORE: Virus panic hits Lake Country Food Bank


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: Shuswap Emergency Program an important asset for region

Council Report by City of Salmon Arm Councillor Kevin Flynn

Trial of accused in Salmon Arm church shooting expected to be brief

Crown won’t dispute not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder defence

Motorcycle driver disappears after crash along Highway 1 in South Shuswap

Chase RCMP respond to two single-vehicle crashes over the weekend

Curbside reads available as Okanagan libraries reopen

Okanagan Regional Library reopened June 2 in phased approach

Youth arrested in relation to armed robbery at Salmon Arm gas station

Suspect now facing potential criminal charges

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Suspicious activity on North Okanagan bike trails

A rock deliberately placed on a hazardous corner results in bolstered security, cameras

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Defence claims Surrey man was mentally unwell at time of West Kelowna murder

Tejwant Danjou’s jealousy ‘tormented him’, according to his defence lawyer

WildSafeBC: What to do when you find a fawn

Fawning season occurs from May to early July

Small business grants available through Okanagan initiative

Susie and Bryan Gay launched ‘This Bag Helps’ to help fellow small business owners during the pandemic

Vernon Para-snowboarder crushed by competition ban

Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport said Matt Hamilton tested positive for a banned substance

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Most Read